Energy Harvesting is a powerful process that deals with exploring different possible ways of converting energy dispersed in the environment into more useful form of energy, essentially electrical energy. Piezoelectric materials are known for their ability of transferring mechanical energy into electrical energy or vice versa. Our work takes advantage of piezoelectric material’s properties to covert thermal energy into electrical energy in an oscillating heat pipe. Specific interest in an oscillating heat pipe has relevance to energy harvesting for low power generation suitable for remote electronics operation as well as low-power heat reclamation for electronic packaging. The aim of this paper is develop a 2D multi-physics design analysis model that aids in predicting electrical power generation inherent to an oscillating heat pipe. The experimental design shows a piezoelectric patch with fixed configuration, attached inside an oscillating heat pipe and its behavior when subjected to the oscillating fluid pressure was observed. Numerical analysis of the model depicting the similar behavior was done using a multiphysics FEA software. The numerical model consists of a threeway physics interaction that takes into account fluid flow, solid mechanics, and electrical response of the harvester circuit.
A series of experiments were conducted to investigate and characterize the concept of ferrofluidic induction - a process for generating electrical power via cyclic oscillation of ferrofluid (iron-based nanofluid) through a solenoid. Experimental parameters include: number of bias magnets, magnet spacing, solenoid core, fluid pulse frequency and ferrofluid-particle diameter. A peristaltic pump was used to cyclically drive two aqueous ferrofluids, consisting of 7-10 nm iron-oxide particles and commercially-available hydroxyl-coated magnetic beads (~800 nm), respectively. The solutions were pulsated at 3, 6, and 10 Hz through 3.2 mm internal diameter Tygon tubing. A 1000 turn copper-wire solenoid was placed around the tube 45 cm away from the pump. The experimental results indicate that the ferrofluid is capable of inducing a maximum electric potential of approximately +/- 20 μV across the solenoid during its cyclic passage. As the frequency of the pulsating flow increased, the ferro-nanoparticle diameter increased, or the bias magnet separation decreased, the induced voltage increased. The type of solenoid core material (copper or plastic) did not have a discernible effect on induction. These results demonstrate the feasibility of ferrofluidic induction and provide insight into its dependence on fluid/flow parameters. Such fluidic/magneto-coupling can be exploited for energy harvesting and/or conversion system design for a variety of applications.