Nonlinear vibration harvesting for extended structures monitoring

Publication Type:

Conference Proceedings


Sixth International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management. Bridge Maintenance, Safety, Management, Resilience and Sustainability, Taylor & Francis Group, Stresa IT, p.1519-1526 (2012)




The long time continuous monitoring of extended structures via small-scale electronic mobile devices is considered of primary importance for many applications in civil engineering. These devices all need distributed powering systems. Presently this means wired power-grids, batteries or RF-sources, however all these solutions present some back-draws. Wiring is expensive, add weight and is subjected to high failure rate in devices subjected to repeated motion. Traditional batteries are not a viable solution to the powering of such devices mainly because they have to be replaced once exhausted. Thus the goal is powering such devices with with energy harvested from the ambient has been in recent years the subject of a great research efforts. In this work we discuss a novel method based on the exploitation of the dynamical features of stochastic bistable oscillators employed to model nonlinear piezoelectric vibration harvesters. Such a method is shown to
outperform standard linear oscillators and to overcome some of the most severe limitations of present approaches. Digital simulations are shown together with experimental measurements realized on extended structures.