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Department of Mechanical Engineering

A study of bimorphs as an energy harvester

Satyam Bhuyan and Benjamin Pecholt


EE 530 Final presentation
Knowledge. Innovation. Leadership.

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EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Literature review and background


Rapid development of remote microsensors and
microelectronic devices in various applications.
Sudden attention towards the power sources of small
wireless electronic devices

Effect of the remaining portions of the harvester on the


harvesting structure.
Roundy S L etal, Improving power output for vibration-based
energy scavengers, IEEE Pervas. Comput., 2005. 4: p. 28-36.

Knowledge. Innovation. Leadership.

www.me.iastate.edu

EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Literature review and background


Conversion of mechanical energies into electrical energies
Lu F etal, Modeling and analysis of micro piezoelectric power
generators for micro-electromechanical-systems applications.
Smart Mater. Struct., 2004. 13: p. 57-63.
Yang J S etal, Performance of a piezoelectric harvester in
thickness-stretch mode of a plate. IEEE Trans. Ultrason.
Ferroelectr. Freq. Control, 2005. 52(1872-6).
Hu Y T etal, Nonlinear behavior of a piezoelectric power harvester
near resonance. IEEE Trans. Ultrason. Ferroelectr. Freq. Control,
2006. 53: p. 1387-91.

Harvesting structure with a low natural frequency


Hu Y T etal, A low frequency piezoelectric power harvester using a
spiral-shaped bimorph. Sci. China G, 2006, 49(6).

Knowledge. Innovation. Leadership.

www.me.iastate.edu

EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Introduction
Harvesting energy at microscale level could be ideal

Bimorph structures could prove to be an interesting


response to the Carnot Cycle on the MEMS scale
Radiant Energy - electromagnetic energy that travels in
transverse waves . Eg. visible light, x-rays, gamma rays
and radio waves
Photoelectric effect could be another useful too for
harvesting energy

Pyroelectric materials are not ideal for energy harvesting


purposes because they absorb radiation for a narrow band
and are difficult to grow
Knowledge. Innovation. Leadership.

www.me.iastate.edu

EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Biomorphs
Consists of a thin metal substrate sandwiched
between two dissimilar structural material
Typical application is for actuation

Knowledge. Innovation. Leadership.

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EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Biomorphs
A bimorph actuator has a number of advantages:
Easier control of the structure and effective conversion of mechanical strain into
electrical voltage and vice versa
Simple structure containing only piezoelectric film, electrodes and very flexible
layer (does not introduce any significant stiffness in the diaphragm, nor residual
stress)
With larger sensitivity and signal/noise ratio and higher fundamental resonant
frequency, it has inherently higher figure of merit than a uni-morph device.
Conformal deposition allowing various diaphragm shapes

The potential difficulties working with these type of bimorph devices are
the low energy conversion efficiency (around 7 times less the energy
conversion efficiency of the multilayer piezoelectric actuator)
high power consumption
unstable displacement which increases shift and creep phenomena
low response speed.
Knowledge. Innovation. Leadership.

www.me.iastate.edu

EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Biomorph analysis
The first natural frequency of a slender cantilever
beam with a concentrated end mass as given by
n

3EI
L3 ( M b 0.24 M )

E is the modulus of elasticity, I is the moment of


inertia, L is the length of the beam, M is the mass of
the beam, and Mb is the concentrated bulk end mass.

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EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Bimorph analysis continued


The deformation of a cantilever with two different
materials can be modeled using Stoneys Theorem.
t

h/2

h/2

Stress Induced at the interface


Deformation Equation:

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CTE thin film

CTE substrate

Change in Temperature

Ef

Youngs Modulus of the Film

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EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

MEMS materials
We are
Interested in
two main
properties:
1) High Thermal
Conductivity
2) CTE Mismatch

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EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Bimorph behavior
Silicon makes a convenient substrate
AlN can be made in thinfilm form
Bimorph Cantilever Properties

Deformation is on the
order of 6 microns for a 1
Kelvin change in
temperature.
Low change in
temperature can create
some deflection!

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Length 100

Width

50

Substrate Thickness

10

Film Thickness

Substrate Material
Film Material

10

Silicon
AlN

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EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Bimorph behavior continued


Bimorph configuration must use pulsed radiation to
induce a vibration
Radiant Energy

Radiant Energy

b)

a)

c)

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d)

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EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Bimorph radiation heating characteristics


Assume a low Biot number and can use lumped
method to solve for the heating
Absorbed
radiation
energy

Stored
energy

Energy lost
to
convection
Transfer Function

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EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Bimorph cooling characteristics


Similarly a transfer function was derived for a case
where the cantilever cools down and it was found to
cool sufficiently fast on 0 100 rad/s
The resonant frequency equation was then used to
determine the optimal concentrated load mass for 100
rad/s.

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EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Radiation harvester conclusions, afterthoughts


Functional? Probably

Practical? Probably not


Even if this worked a rotating chopper would mean that the
cantilevers are not oscillating synchronously and complex
signal conditioning may be required
But can this method be used in some alternative way to
generate power? Consider a heat engine powered by
methanol
a)
b)
c)

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EE 530 Introduction to
MEMS and bioMEMS

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Questions?
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