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Modeling, simulation, and optimization of miniature tribo-electret kinetic energy harvesters

Abstract : Harvesting energy from the ambient environment is a good sustainable and complementary power supply solution in some consumer electronics, distributed wireless sensor networks, wearable or implantable devices, "Internet of Things" systems with lots of nodes, etc. in comparison with batteries. The ubiquitous kinetic energy in various motions and vibrations is one of the most available energy sources for such a purpose. The electret kinetic energy harvesters (E-KEHs) is one type of electrostatic kinetic energy harvesters using electrets (dielectrics with quasi-permanent charges) as the biasing voltage source, which can generate electricity based on the electrostatic induction effect when the capacitance of the E-KEHs is changed by the motions/vibrations. This thesis aims to investigate the transitory output characteristics of E-KEHs by both theoretical simulations and experimental measurements and to optimize the efficiency and output power of E-KEHs by tribo-charging and other methods adapted to their output characteristics, which are significant to improving the performance of E-KEHs.Firstly, the amplitude-variable output characteristics of a contact-separation (CS) mode E-KEH in transitory working cycles are investigated via the simulation results based on a detailed equivalent circuit model. These amplitude-variable output characteristics are attributed to the lag of the charge-transfer cycle behind the excitation motion cycle. The influences of both the initial condition and the load resistance on the variation in the output voltage peaks of a tribo-electret KEH (TE-KEH) are studied in detail and verified by both simulated and experimental data of a CS mode TE-KEH made with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) electret film.Secondly, based on the analysis of the amplitude-variable output characteristics, a contact time optimization method is used to improve the output power and efficiency of the CS mode TE-KEH with a large load resistance of 100 MΩ. The theoretical maximum output energy per working cycle of the TE-KEH is analyzed. Several usually unfavorable factors that would reduce the practical output energy per working cycle of the TE-KEH are discussed. The maximum air gap optimization and the tribo-charging methods are also used together to further improve the average output power of the 4 cm × 4 cm sized TE-KEH from ~150 μW to ~503 μW.Thirdly, an innovative and facile tape-peeling tribo-charging method is developed to charge the fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) polymer film to make electrets without using any high voltage source. The surface potential distribution of the FEP film is apparently changed after several tape-peeling tribo-charging treatments. Consequently, the output voltage and current of TE-KEHs made with the FEP film are greatly improved. For a 64 cm2 sized flexible TE-KEH to harvest kinetic energy from wind, an apparent ~692% improvement in the output power from ~2.5 μW to ~19.8 μW was obtained by the tape-peeling charging method.
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  • HAL Id : tel-02492193, version 1

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Hanlu Zhang. Modeling, simulation, and optimization of miniature tribo-electret kinetic energy harvesters. Mechanical engineering [physics.class-ph]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019SACLC100⟩. ⟨tel-02492193⟩

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