Modeling a piezoelectric flag as a membrane for energy harvesting

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University of Alabama Libraries

The goal of this research is to model a piezoelectric flag as a membrane for the sake of energy harvesting. Typically, a flag is modeled as a beam, but it is modeled as a membrane in this study with the hopes of more accurately describing the dynamics of the system. Following this is an overview of piezoelectric materials, including a discussion of their properties, capabilities, and applications. Then, a discussion of fluid-based energy harvesting, specifically with piezoelectric materials, is presented. The piezoelectric material of interest in this case, due to its inherent flexibility, is polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). This is a rapidly expanding area of study. Most notably, energy harvested from vortex-induced vibrations, along with bluff bodies, is of particular interest. After the literature review concerning piezoelectric materials and fluid-based energy harvesting, the system is modeled as a membrane. This modeling requires two coupled equations of motion, where one equation describes the mechanical behavior of the system and the other describes the electrical behavior of the system. Results obtained both numerically and experimentally are then compared. It is shown that the numerical model is relatively accurate compared to the experimental results. Finally, a plan for the future works in regard to this research is proposed.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Mechanical engineering, Alternative energy