Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Director

Tian-Bing Xu

Committee Member

Mileta Tomovic

Committee Member

Arthur Taylor


Highways, streets, bridges, and sidewalks with heavy traffic dissipate a considerable amount of waste mechanical energy every day. Piezoelectric energy harvesting devices are a very promising technology that can convert the waste mechanical energy to clean and renewable energy to enhance the sustainability of infrastructures. Research efforts in large-scale energy harvesting have led to the advancement of piezoelectric devices to the point that large-scale implementation is starting to become more feasible. The energy harvested by these devices can be used in many ways such as providing heating or cooling, melting ice, monitoring structural conditions in bridges and tunnels, and powering wireless sensors. Additionally, these devices contain an off-grid power system meaning that it has a standalone battery connected to it. This is highly beneficial in areas where city power sources are not readily available. The objective of this thesis is to study the energy harvesting potential of a dual-mode piezoelectric generator to develop a roadway piezoelectric harvesting system with ultra-high-power density and efficiency.

The dual-mode harvester is made up of APC 855 with two different modes, 33-mode and 15-mode. In order to structurally optimize the design, finite element analysis was performed using ANSYS Mechanical and APDL. Static and transient simulations for each model with detailed input conditions were evaluated to determine the optimal configuration. Two different vehicle sizes were evaluated to assess the load effect on the harvested power. In addition, open circuit and closed-circuit models with different resistance values were compared to determine the resistance that produces the highest energy. Furthermore, a comparison between the different polarization directions for the 15-mode harvester was investigated to determine the optimal polarization direction.


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