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Pedro Augusto Galvani


ESCI 330 LINEAR VIBRATIONS
Journal Article Summary
Large-scale vibration energy harvesting
Lei Zuo and Xiudong Tang

The search for new Energy Sources is big issue nowadays, as vibrations exist anywhere,
their utilization, as a source of energy, is a big concern. A vibration harvesting system needs four
main subsystems to work: an external source of excitation, a transducer that transform vibration
energy into electrical energy, a transmission and electronics devices like magnification, power
and storage elements.
An important application of the vibration energy harvesting is the regenerative vehicle
suspension. This device transforms the undesired vibration, induced by road roughness,
acceleration, and deceleration, into useful electricity instead of heat. It represents about 2.4% to
9%

of improvement in fuel efficiency (1407).


Another application is the power generation from civil structures. The sources of these

vibrations can be the wind, earthquakes and vibrations induced by human activities. In order to
avoid any fatigue or structural damages, engineers install viscous dissipative elements. Replacing
these elements with energy transducers, would enable the utilization of this energy.
Following the same line of reasoning, vibrations from railway tracks could be harvest by
the utilization of motion rectifiers and flying wheels.
Despite small, the human motion induced vibrations can be harvest. Walking, breathing,
blood pressure, arms and finger motions are sources of vibrations. That motion could be

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transformed in energy by the utilization of devices like the regenerative backpack, regenerative
shoes and knee-mounted structures.
An important renewable energy that is also generated from vibrations is the ocean wave
energy. In fact, the Kinect energy from waves could feed 25% of the nation needs, if fully
harvest (1411).
The mechanical energy form vibration needs to be converted to electrical energy, in order
to feed society needs. Therefore, transducers need to be used. The most commons are
piezoelectric materials, linear and rotational electromagnetic motors, electrostatic generators, and
dielectric generators. The piezoelectric transducer is more efficient when dealing with big force
and small deformation, while motors and generators are more efficient when dealing with high
amplitudes.
An example of application of the piezoelectric transducer is the power generating floor, it
is a system that generate energy when a person step in a piezoelectric floor. It was tested in
Tokyo Stations Marunouchi and it harvest an average power of 5.6 W in 24 hours, but after the
degradation of the device, the energy production decreased (1413).
Electromagnetic transducers can replace conventional dampers in several applications.
They are usually utilized with gears and transmissions, in order to magnify the force and change
the direction of the movement, respectively.
Another important step that makes harvesting possible is the power management. After
the transformation of mechanical energy in electrical energy, the signal needs to be processed. In
order to provide a good quality electrical current, some devices are used, for example: AC-DC
converters, voltage regulators, force control (it is necessary not for the quality of the signal, but

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also to control the mechanical response), bidirectional power flow control and feedback control
algorithms.
Critique of the article
Definitely, the article is well developed. The authors use a good order for the subjects,
what makes it easy to read and to connect ideas. It is a very comprehensive article and sometimes
some subjects are treated very deeply while others has only a superficial discussion. It is not a
problem, but in my opinion, this issue should be explained better at the abstract. The quality of
the figures is unquestionable, but sometimes the picture you are looking for is not where you
expect, for example, in my opinion, figure 36 would fix better in the previous page. In
conclusion, this is a high quality article, it provides an excellent background information about
vibrations and, the most important, give the students many real life examples of the importance
of studying then.