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Preliminary Testing of a New Vibration Energy Harvester
Sam Gustin, Martin Agelin-chaab, Kirtan Patel

Last modified: 2018-06-25


A novel technology designed to use fluid induced vibrations in a tensioned strap as the driving force for electrical generation is explored. We have developed a device to harness wind energy by using a tuned surface vibrating in airflow.  As an unstable surface, under tension, encounters airflow it vibrates causing the distance spanned by the surface to oscillate.  We tune the tension in the surface to achieve a large amplitude and short period oscillation.  This motion drives a ratchet and flywheel which can turn a generator.  Prototype systems have shown promise including output in excess of 750 rpm. These low noise, low action generators may allow for urban deployment, deployment in low infrastructure areas, and supplementation of existing wind farm structures.

The development of these devices has involved designing a system to achieve constructive interference and large amplitude semi-stable oscillation which is not normally a feature desired in a bluff body design.  The design of the system along with methods for increasing pseudo-instability both through tension tuning, surface mounting and strap geometry will be presented and discussed.


application; power generation; flow induced vibration; flow-structure interaction

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