In the USA, there are over 4 million miles (6 million km) of roadways and more than 250 million registered vehicles. Energy lost in the pavement system due to traffic-induced vibration and deformation is enormous. If effectively harvested, such energy can serve as an alternative sustainable energy source that can be easily integrated into the transportation system. It is well known that most piezoelectric materials are also pyroelectric materials, which convert temperature change into electricity. However, the potential of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) as a hybrid piezo-pyroelectric energy harvester has been seldom studied. The uniqueness of this study lies in that the electrical responses of PVDF under coupled mechanical and thermal stimulations are investigated. Through a series of well controlled experiments, it is found that there exists an interesting coupling phenomenon between piezoelectric and pyroelectric effects of PVDF: the voltage generated by simultaneous mechanical and thermal stimulations is the algebraic sum of voltages generated by separate stimulations. This means that there is neither strengthening nor weakening coupling effect when the piezoelectric and pyroelectric phenomena are coupled. This also makes the modeling process of the hybrid piezoelectric and pyroelectric effect straightforward. An estimation of power generation through piezoelectric and pyroelectric effect is conducted, and the overall effects of temperature on hybrid piezo-pyroelectric energy harvesting are discussed.
- Energy harvesting
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