Department of Mechanical Engineering
Florida State University

"Fluttering Response of a Flexible Piezo-electromechanical Smart Structure: Energy Harvesting"


Piezoelectric flexible surfaces can be used to continuously harness fluid energy for small-scale sensors used in a wide variety of applications ranging from measurement/monitoring of environmental conditions (outdoors or indoors) to the tracking of wild animals. They can also be designed to serve as actuators for many applications including flow control. More interestingly, it is possible to modify the mechanical properties of a surface or even reach new types of metamaterials with unique properties by careful design of distributed arrays of piezoelectric transducers. This is essentially achieved by connecting distributed arrays of independent piezoelectric transducers in such a way that electric waveguide between them follows the desired pattern. In the limit of many piezoelectric patches, a continuous approach might be adapted to study the entire structure’s deformational modes and explore their connections to different choices of the electrical waveguide. Here, we discuss simulation techniques to investigate the interaction between fluid-structure and electric field in a distributed piezoelectric surface and the methods for quantification of the performance of electromechanical structures. In particular, a coupled fluid-structure-electric simulation based on using an immersed boundary approach for the fluid and a geometrical and material nonlinear finite element method for the electromechanical system is used to examine the fluttering response of a flexible piezoelectric surface when it is used as a capacitance-based energy harvester. We discuss future directions to develop new devices and how to integrate them into technological applications such as structural health Monitoring, damage detection technique, energy harvesting, and flow control.