Performance Enhancement of a Piezoelectric Harvester Included into an Autonomous System
Autonomous systems are these systems which power themselves from the available ambient energies in addition to their duties. In the next few years, autonomous systems will pervade society and they will find their ways into different applications related to health, security, comfort and entertainment. Piezoelectric harvesters are possible energy converters which can be used to convert the available ambient vibration energy into electrical energy. In this contribution, an energy harvesting cantilever array with magnetic tuning including three piezoelectric bimorphs is investigated theoretically and experimentally. Other than harvester designs proposed before, this array is easy to manufacture and insensitive to manufacturing tolerances because its optimum operation frequency can be re-adjusted after fabrication. In this array, each bimorph has its own rectification circuit in order to prevent the interference of its operation with the others. Two electrical connections are investigated: the series connection and the parallel connection. These connections are tested under several cases such as moderate and high excitation level and large and small connected load. The theoretical and experimental works show that each connection has characteristics and can be used to enhance the harvester output power and/or its frequency bandwidth. These characteristics are highly related to the excitation level and the connected load together.