Actuators, Vol. 12, Pages 215: Ferroelectret Polypropylene Foam-Based Piezoelectric Energy Harvester for Different Seismic Mass Conditions

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Actuators, Vol. 12, Pages 215: Ferroelectret Polypropylene Foam-Based Piezoelectric Energy Harvester for Different Seismic Mass Conditions

Actuators doi: 10.3390/act12050215

Authors:
Chandana Ravikumar
Vytautas Markevicius

Energy harvesting technologies and material science has made it possible to tap into the abundant amount of surrounding vibrational energy to efficiently convert it into useable energy providing power to portable electronics and IoT devices. Recent investigations show that the piezoelectric effect is created in cellular polymers called ferroelectrets. These cellular-compliant polymers with polarized pores have a piezoelectric response to generate electrical energy when subjected to mechanical strain or surrounding vibration. It is found that there is a significant difference between ferroelectret polarized cellular polypropylene foam and traditional piezoelectric polymers such as polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). The former has approximately ten times higher piezoelectric coefficient than the latter. This means that with an acceleration of 9.81 m/s2 force on this material, ferroelectrets generate up to 39 (µW/g/mm3) power output. Designing a polypropylene-based piezoelectric energy harvester based on the d33 mode of vibration can be challenging due to several factors, as it requires balancing multiple factors such as mechanical stability, piezoelectric response, circuit topology, electrode size, spacing, placement relative to the piezoelectric material, and so on. This paper proposes the preliminary experimental investigation of ferroelectret cellular polypropylene foam in harvesting performance. Suggestions of different approaches for the structural design of energy harvesters are provided. The vibration-dependent response and generated output are examined concerning pulse or sinusoidal input excitation. The voltage generated for both excitations is compared and suggestions are provided regarding the suitable kind of excitation for the chosen ferroelectret material. Finally, conclusions and prospects for ferroelectret materials used in energy-harvesting applications are given.

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