• Experimental and theoretical study of a piezoelectric vibration energy harvester under high temperature

      Arroyo, Emmanuelle; Jia, Yu; Du, Sijun; Chen, Shao-Tuan; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester (IEEE, 2017-08-01)
      This paper focuses on studying the effect of increasing the ambient temperature up to 160 °C on the power harvested by an MEMS piezoelectric micro-cantilever manufactured using an aluminum nitride-on-silicon fabrication process. An experimental study shows that the peak output power decreases by 60% to 70% depending on the input acceleration. A theoretical study establishes the relationship of all important parameters with temperature and includes them into a temperature-dependent model. This model shows that around 50% of the power drop can be explained by a decreasing quality factor, and that thermal stresses account for around 30% of this decrease.
    • Modelling low velocity impact induced damage in composite laminates

      Shi, Yu; Soutis, Constantinos; University of Chester; University of Manchester (SpringerOpen, 2017-07-26)
      The paper presents recent progress on modelling low velocity impact induced damage in fibre reinforced composite laminates. It is important to understand the mechanisms of barely visible impact damage (BVID) and how it affects structural performance. To reduce labour intensive testing, the development of finite element (FE) techniques for simulating impact damage becomes essential and recent effort by the composites research community is reviewed in this work. The FE predicted damage initiation and propagation can be validated by Non Destructive Techniques (NDT) that gives confidence to the developed numerical damage models. A reliable damage simulation can assist the design process to optimise laminate configurations, reduce weight and improve performance of components and structures used in aircraft construction.
    • Modelling low velocity impact induced damage in composite laminates

      Shi, Yu; Soutis, Constantinos; University of Chester; University of Manchester (Springer, 2017-07-26)
      The paper presents recent progress on modelling low velocity impact induced damage in fibre reinforced composite laminates. It is important to understand the mechanisms of barely visible impact damage (BVID) and how it affects structural performance. To reduce labour intensive testing, the development of finite element (FE) techniques for simulating impact damage becomes essential and recent effort by the composites research community is reviewed in this work. The FE predicted damage initiation and propagation can be validated by Non Destructive Techniques (NDT) that gives confidence to the developed numerical damage models. A reliable damage simulation can assist the design process to optimise laminate configurations, reduce weight and improve performance of components and structures used in aircraft construction.
    • A New Electrode Design Method in Piezoelectric Vibration Energy Harvesters to Maximize Output Power

      Du, Sijun; Jia, Yu; Chen, Shao-Tuan; Zhao, Chun; Sun, Boqian; Arroyo, Emmanuelle; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2017-07-19)
      A resonant vibration energy harvester typically comprises of a clamped anchor and a vibrating shuttle with a proof mass. Piezoelectric materials are embedded in locations of high strain in order to transduce mechanical deformation into electrical charge. Conventional design for piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters (PVEH) usually utilizes piezoelectric materials and metal electrode layers covering the entire surface area of the cantilever with no consideration provided to examine the trade-off involved with respect to maximize output power. This paper reports on the theory and experimental verification underpinning optimization of the active electrode area in order to maximize output power. The calculations show that, in order to maximize the output power of a PVEH, the electrode should cover the piezoelectric layer from the peak strain area to a position, where the strain is a half of the average strain in all the previously covered area. With the proposed electrode design, the output power can be improved by 145% and 126% for a cantilever and a clamped-clamped beam, respectively. MEMS piezoelectric harvesters are fabricated to experimentally validate the theory.
    • Lateral crushing and bending responses of CFRP square tube filled with aluminum honeycomb

      Liu, Qiang; Xu, Xiyu; Ma, Jingbo; Wang, Jinsha; Shi, Yu; Hui, David; Sun Yat-Sen University; Hunan University; University of Chester; University of New Orleans (Elsevier, 2017-03-18)
      This paper aims to investigate the lateral planar crushing and bending responses of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) square tube filled with aluminum honeycomb. The various failure modes and mechanical characteristics of filled tube were experimentally captured and numerically predicted by commercial finite element (FE) package LS-DYNA, comparing to the hollow tubes. The filled aluminum honeycomb effectively improved the stability of progressive collapse during crushing, leading to both hinges symmetrically occurred along the vertical side. The experimental results showed that energy absorbed (EA) and specific energy absorption (SEA) of the filled CFRP tubes could be significantly increased to 6.56 and 4 times, respectively, of those measured for the hollow tubes without fillings under lateral crushing. Although an improvement of 32% of EA and 0.9% of SEA were obtained for the lateral bending, still the design using aluminum honeycomb as filling was remarkably capable to improve the mechanical characteristics of CFRP tube structure. A good agreement was obtained between experimentally measured and numerically predicted load-displacement histories. The FE prediction was also helpful in understanding the initiation and propagation of cracks within the filled CFRP structure.
    • Piezoelectric vibration energy harvesting: A connection configuration scheme to increase operational range and output power

      Du, Sijun; Jia, Yu; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester (SAGE, 2016-12-12)
      For a conventional monolithic piezoelectric transducer (PT) using a full-bridge rectifier, there is a threshold voltage that the open-circuit voltage measured across the PT must attain prior to any transfer of energy to the storage capacitor at the output of the rectifier. This threshold voltage usually depends on the voltage of the storage capacitor and the forward voltage drop of diodes. This article presents a scheme of splitting the electrode of a monolithic piezoelectric vibration energy harvester into multiple (n) equal regions connected in series in order to provide a wider operating voltage range and higher output power while using a full-bridge rectifier as the interface circuit. The performance of different series stage numbers has been theoretically studied and experimentally validated. The number of series stages (n≥1n≥1) can be predefined for a particular implementation, which depends on the specified operating conditions, to achieve optimal performance. This enables the system to attain comparable performance compared to active interface circuits under an increased input range while no additional active circuits are required and the system is comparatively less affected by synchronized switching damping effect.
    • Magnetically levitated autoparametric broadband vibration energy harvesting

      Kurmann, Lukas; Jia, Yu; Manoli, Yiannos; Woias, Peter; University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland; University of Chester; University of Freiburg (IOP Publishing, 2016-12-06)
      Some of the lingering challenges within the current paradigm of vibration energy harvesting (VEH) involve narrow operational frequency range and the inevitable non-resonant response from broadband noise excitations. Such VEHs are only suitable for limited applications with fixed sinusoidal vibration, and fail to capture a large spectrum of the real world vibration. Various arraying designs, frequency tuning schemes and nonlinear vibratory approaches have only yielded modest enhancements. To fundamentally address this, the paper proposes and explores the potentials in using highly nonlinear magnetic spring force to activate an autoparametric oscillator, in order to realize an inherently broadband resonant system. Analytical and numerical modelling illustrate that high spring nonlinearity derived from magnetic levitation helps to promote the 2:1 internal frequency matching required to activate parametric resonance. At the right internal parameters, the resulting system can intrinsically exhibit semi-resonant response regardless of the bandwidth of the input vibration, including broadband white noise excitation.
    • Rotary bistable and Parametrically Excited Vibration Energy Harvesting

      Kurmann, Lukas; Jia, Yu; Hoffmann, Daniel; Manoli, Yiannos; Woias, Peter; University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland; University of Chester; Hahn-Schickard; University of Freiburg (IOP Publishing, 2016-12-06)
      Parametric resonance is a type of nonlinear vibration phenomenon [1], [2] induced from the periodic modulation of at least one of the system parameters and has the potential to exhibit interesting higher order nonlinear behaviour [3]. Parametrically excited vibration energy harvesters have been previously shown to enhance both the power amplitude [4] and the frequency bandwidth [5] when compared to the conventional direct resonant approach. However, to practically activate the more profitable regions of parametric resonance, additional design mechanisms [6], [7] are required to overcome a critical initiation threshold amplitude. One route is to establish an autoparametric system where external direct excitation is internally coupled to parametric excitation [8]. For a coupled two degrees of freedom (DoF) oscillatory system, principal autoparametric resonance can be achieved when the natural frequency of the first DoF f1 is twice that of the second DoF f2 and the external excitation is in the vicinity of f1. This paper looks at combining rotary and translatory motion and use autoparametric resonance phenomena.
    • Utilising Nonlinear Air Damping as a Soft Mechanical Stopper for MEMS Vibration Energy Harvesting

      Chen, Shao-Tuan; Du, Sijun; Arroyo, Emmanuelle; Jia, Yu; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester (IOP Publishing, 2016-12-06)
      This paper reports on the theory and experimental verification of utilising air damping as a soft stopper mechanism for piezoelectric vibration energy harvesting to enhance shock resistance. Experiments to characterise device responsiveness under various vibration conditions were performed at different air pressure levels, and a dimensionless model was constructed with nonlinear damping terms included to model PVEH response. The relationship between the quadratic damping coefficient ζ n and air pressure is empirically established, and an optimal pressure level is calculated to trade off harvestable energy and device robustness for specific environmental conditions.
    • High temperature performance of a piezoelectric micro cantilever for vibration energy harvesting

      Arroyo, Emmanuelle; Jia, Yu; Du, Sijun; Chen, Shao-Tuan; Seshia, Ashwin A. (IOP Publishing, 2016-12-06)
      Energy harvesters withstanding high temperatures could provide potentially unlimited energy to sensor nodes placed in harsh environments, where manual maintenance is difficult and costly. Experimental results on a classical microcantilever show a 67% drop of the maximum power when the temperature is increased up to 160 °C. This decrease is investigated using a lumped-parameters model which takes into account variations in material parameters with temperature, damping increase and thermal stresses induced by mismatched thermal coefficients in a composite cantilever. The model allows a description of the maximum power evolution as a function of temperature and input acceleration. Simulation results further show that an increase in damping and the apparition of thermal stresses are contributing to the power drop at 59% and 13% respectively.
    • Energy Harvesting behaviour for Aircraft Composites Structures using Macro-Fibre Composite: Part I–Integration and Experiment

      Shi, Yu; Zhu, Meiling; Hallett, Stephen R; University of Chester; University of Exeter; University of Bristol (Composite Structure, 2016-11-12)
      This paper investigates new ways to integrate piezoelectric energy harvesting elements onto carbon-fibre composite structures, using a new bonding technique with a vacuum bag system and co-curing process, for fabrication onto airframe structures. Dynamic mechanical vibration tests were performed to characterise the energy harvested by the various integration methods across a range of different vibration frequencies and applied mechanical input loadings. An analytical model was also introduced to predict the power harvested under the mechanical vibrations as a benchmark to evaluate the proposed methods. The developed co-curing showed a high efficiency for energy harvesting at a range of low frequencies, where the co-curing method offered a maximum improvement of 14.3% compared to the mechanical bonding approach at a frequency of 10 Hz. Furthermore, co-curing exhibited potential at high frequency by performing the sweep test between frequencies of 1 and 100 Hz. Therefore, this research work offers potential integration technology for energy harvesting in complicated airframe structures in aerospace applications, to obtain the power required for environmental or structural health monitoring.
    • Micromachined cantilevers-on-membrane topology for broadband vibration energy harvesting

      Jia, Yu; Du, Sijun; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester (IOP Publishing, 2016-10-17)
      The overwhelming majority of microelectromechanical piezoelectric vibration energy harvesting topologies have been based on cantilevers, doubly-clamped beams or basic membranes. While these conventional designs offer simplicity, their broadband responses have been limited thus far. This paper investigates the feasibility of a new integrated cantilevers-on-membrane design that explores the optimisation of piezoelectric strain distribution and improvement of the broadband power output. While a classic membrane has the potential to offer a broader resonant peak than its cantilever counterpart, the inclusion of a centred proof mass compromises its otherwise high strain energy regions. The proposed topology addresses this issue by relocating the proof mass onto subsidiary cantilevers and combines the merits of both the membrane and the cantilever designs. Numerical simulations, constructed using fitted values based on finite element models, were used to investigate the broadband response of the proposed design in contrast to a classic plain membrane. Experimentally, when subjected to a band-limited white noise excitation, the new cantilevers-on-membrane harvester exhibited nearly two fold power output enhancement when compared to a classic plain membrane harvester of a comparable size.
    • Connection Configurations to Increase Operational Range and Output Power of Piezoelectric MEMS Vibration Energy Harvesters

      Du, Sijun; Chen, Shao-Tuan; Jia, Yu; Arroyo, Emmanuelle; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester (IOP Publishing, 2016-09-06)
      Among the various methods of extracting energy harvested by a piezoelectric vibration energy harvester, full-bridge rectifiers (FBR) are widely employed due to its simplicity and stability. However, its efficiency and operational range are limited due to a threshold voltage that the open-circuit voltage generated from the piezoelectric transducer (PT) must attain prior to any energy extraction. This voltage linearly depends on the output voltage of the FBR and the forward voltage drop of diodes and the nature of the interface can significantly limit the amount of extracted energy under low excitation levels. In this paper, a passive scheme is proposed to split the electrode of a micromachined PT into multiple (n) equal regions, which are electrically connected in series. The power output from such a series connected MEMS PT allows for the generated voltage to readily overcome the threshold set by the FBR. Theoretical calculations have been performed in this paper to assess the performance for different series stages (n values) and the theory has been experimentally validated. The results show that a PT with more series stages (high n values) improves the efficiency of energy extraction relative to the case with fewer series-connected stages under weak excitation levels.
    • An Efficient SSHI Interface With Increased Input Range for Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Under Variable Conditions

      Du, Sijun; Jia, Yu; Do, Cuong D.; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester (IEEE, 2016-08-10)
      Piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters have been widely researched and are increasingly employed for powering wireless sensor nodes. The synchronized switch harvesting on inductor (SSHI) circuit is one of the most efficient interfaces for piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters. However, the traditional incarnation of this circuit suffers from a significant start-up issue that limits operation in low and variable amplitude vibration environments. This paper addresses this start-up issue for the SSHI rectifier by proposing a new architecture with SSHI startup circuitry. The startup circuitry monitors if the SSHI circuit is operating correctly and re-starts the SSHI interface if required. The proposed circuit is comprehensively analyzed and experimentally validated through tests conducted by integrating a commercial piezoelectric vibration energy harvester with the new interface circuit designed in a 0.35-μm HV CMOS process. Compared to conventional SSHI rectifiers, the proposed circuit significantly decreases the required minimum input excitation amplitude before energy can be harvested, making it possible to extract energy over an increased excitation range.
    • Twenty-Eight Orders of Parametric Resonance in a Microelectromechanical Device for Multi-band Vibration Energy Harvesting

      Jia, Yu; Du, Sijun; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-07-22)
      This paper contends to be the first to report the experimental observation of up to 28 orders of parametric resonance, which has thus far only been envisioned in the theoretical realm. While theory has long predicted the onset of n orders of parametric resonance, previously reported experimental observations have been limited up to about the first 5 orders. This is due to the rapid narrowing nature of the frequency bandwidth of the higher instability intervals, making practical accessibility increasingly more difficult. Here, the authors have experimentally confirmed up to 28 orders of parametric resonance in a micromachined membrane resonator when electrically undamped. While the implication of this finding spans across the vibration dynamics and transducer application spectrum, the particular significance of this work is to broaden the accumulative operational frequency bandwidth of vibration energy harvesting for enabling self-powered microsystems. Up to 5 orders were recorded when driven at 1.0g of acceleration across a matched load of 70kΩ. With a natural frequency of 980Hz, the fundamental mode direct resonance had a −3dB bandwidth of 55Hz, in contrast to the 314Hz for the first order parametric resonance; furthermore, the half power bands of all 5 orders accumulated to 478Hz.
    • An Efficient Inductor-less Dynamically Configured Interface Circuit for Piezoelectric Vibration Energy Harvesting

      Du, Sijun; Jia, Yu; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2016-07-07)
      Vibration energy harvesting based on piezoelectric materials is of interest in several applications such as in powering remote distributed wireless sensor nodes for structural health monitoring. Synchronized Switch Harvesting on Inductor (SSHI) and Synchronous Electric Charge Extraction (SECE) circuits show good power efficiency among reported power management circuits; however, limitations exist due to inductors employed, adaption of response to varying excitation levels and the Synchronized Switch Damping (SSD) effect. In this paper, an inductor-less dynamically configured interface circuit is proposed, which is able to configure the connection of two piezoelectric materials in parallel or in series by periodically evaluating the ambient excitation level. The proposed circuit is designed and fabricated in a 0:35 μm HV CMOS process.The fabricated circuit is co-integrated with a piezoelectric bimorph energy harvester and the performance is experimentally validated. With a low power consumption (0:5 μW), the measured results show that the proposed rectifier can provide a 4.5 boost in harvested energy compared to the conventional full-bridge rectifier without employing an inductor. It also shows a high power efficiency over a wide range of excitation levels and is less susceptible to SSD.
    • High speed CO2 laser surface modification of iron/cobalt co-doped boroaluminosilicate glass

      Hodgson, Simon D.; Waugh, David G.; Gillett, Alice R.; Lawrence, Jonathan; University of Chester (IOP Publishing, 2016-06-10)
      A preliminary study into the impact of high speed laser processing on the surface of iron and cobalt co-doped glass substrates using a 60 W continuous wave (cw) CO2 laser. Two types of processing, termed fill-processing and line-processing, were trialled. In fill-processed samples the surface roughness of the glass was found to increase linearly with laser power from an Sa value of 20.8 nm–2.1 μm at a processing power of 54 W. With line processing, a more exponential-like increase was observed with a roughness of 4 μm at 54 W. The change in surface properties of the glass, such as gloss and wettability, have also been measured. The contact angle of water was found to increase after laser processing by up to 64°. The surface gloss was varied between 45 and 100 gloss units (GUs).
    • In vitro mesenchymal stem cell response to a CO2 laser modified polymeric material

      Waugh, David G.; Hussain, Issam; Lawrence, Jonathan; Smith, Graham C.; Toccaceli, Christina; University of Chester; University of Lincoln (Elsevier, 2016-05-16)
      With an ageing world population it is becoming significantly apparent that there is a need to produce implants and platforms to manipulate stem cell growth on a pharmaceutical scale. This is needed to meet the socio-economic demands of many countries worldwide. This paper details one of the first ever studies in to the manipulation of stem cell growth on CO2 laser surface treated nylon 6,6 highlighting its potential as an inexpensive platform to manipulate stem cell growth on a pharmaceutical scale. Through CO2 laser surface treatment discrete changes to the surfaces were made. That is, the surface roughness of the nylon 6,6 was increased by up to 4.3 µm, the contact angle was modulated by up to 5° and the surface oxygen content increased by up to 1 atom%. Following mesenchymal stem cell growth on the laser treated samples, it was identified that CO2 laser surface treatment gave rise to an enhanced response with an increase in viable cell count of up to 60,000 cells/ml when compared to the as-received sample. The effect of surface parameters modified by the CO2 laser surface treatment on the mesenchymal stem cell response is also discussed along with potential trends that could be identified to govern the mesenchymal stem cell response.
    • Laser surface modification of polymeric materials for microbiological applications

      Gillett, Alice R.; Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2016-04-15)
    • Modulating the wettability characteristics and bioactivity of polymeric materials using laser surface treatment

      Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; Shukla, Pratik; University of Chester (AIP Publishing, 2016-03-31)
      It has been thoroughly demonstrated previously that lasers hold the ability to modulate surface properties of materials with the result being utilization of such lasers in both research and industry. What is more, these laser surface treatments have been shown to affect the adhesion characteristics and bio-functionality of those materials. This paper details the use of a Synrad CO2 laser marking system to surface treat nylon 6,6 and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). The laser-modified surfaces were analyzed using 3D surface profilometry to ascertain an increase in surface roughness when compared to the as-received samples. The wettability characteristics were determined using the sessile drop method and showed variations in contact angle for both the nylon 6,6 and PTFE. For the PTFE it was shown that the laser surface treatment gave rise to a more hydrophobic surface with contact angles of up to 150° being achieved. For the nylon 6,6, it was observed that the contact angle was modulated approximately ±10° for different samples which could be attributed to a likely mixed state wetting regime. The effects of the laser surface treatment on osteoblast cell and stem cell growth is discussed showing an overall enhancement of biomimetic properties, especially for the nylon 6,6. This work investigates the potential governing parameters which drives the wettability/adhesion characteristics and bioactivity of the laser surface treated polymeric materials.