The desire to reduce power consumption of current integrated circuits has led design engineers to focus on harvesting energy from free ambient sources such as vibrations. The energy harvested this way can eliminate the need for battery replacement, particularly, in low-energy remote sensing and wireless devices. Currently, most vibration-based energy harvesters are designed as linear resonators, therefore, they have a narrow resonance frequency. The optimal performance of such harvesters is achieved only when their resonance frequency is matched with the ambient excitation. In practice, however, a slight shift of the excitation frequency will cause a dramatic reduction in their performance. In the majority of cases, the ambient vibrations are totally random with their energy distributed over a wide frequency spectrum. Thus, developing techniques to extend the bandwidth of vibration-based energy harvesters has become an important field of research in energy harvesting systems.This thesis first reviews the broadband vibration-based energy harvesting techniques currently known in some detail with regard to their merits and applicability under different circumstances. After that, the design, fabrication, modeling and characterization of three new piezoelectric-based energy harvesting mechanism, built typically for rotary motion applications, is discussed. A step-by-step procedure is followed in order to broaden the bandwidth of such energy harvesters by introducing a coupled spring-mass system attached to a PZT beam undergoing rotary motion. It is shown that the new strategies can indeed give rise to a wide-band frequency response making it possible to fine-tune their dynamical response. The numerical results are shown to be in good agreement with the experimental data as far as the frequency response is concerned.
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Thesis advisor: Arzanpour, Siamak
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