Energy Conversion and Management: X (Jan 2022)

Comprehensive experimental study on bluff body shapes for vortex-induced vibration piezoelectric energy harvesting mechanisms

  • Iman Mehdipour,
  • Francesco Madaro,
  • Francesco Rizzi,
  • Massimo De Vittorio

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13
p. 100174


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Vortex-induced vibration (VIV) is an appropriate mechanism to harvest energy from the low-speed wind energy by flexible piezoelectric flags as transducers. To enhance the low-speed wind energy harvesting, this work proposes a novel study on finding the best possible combination of bluff body shape and flag configuration. This study considered several bluff body shapes in different cross sections and flag configurations as two crucial parameters for finding an appropriate combination. In high flexible piezoelectric flag, zero strain or electrical canceling point along the length of the flag is an important parameter that could be considered in energy harvester design. To this purpose, wind tunnel experiments were conducted to investigate the combination of proper bluff body shape and flag configuration to improve the harvester performance. The proposed bluff body shapes are classified by drag and lift coefficients which are calculated by a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis. Then, several flag configurations in different active area length were clamped to these bluff bodies and tested in the wind tunnel in low wind speed range. The analysis in time and frequency domain of the acquired voltage lead to the conclusion that in low wind speed the bluff body with higher drag coefficients can excite more the longer full active piezoelectric flags, consequently generating more energy. However, for the same bluff body shapes, short full active flags generate more energy in higher wind speed. This study could develop a new experimental approach on finding the most favorable combination of bluff body shape and flag configuration which is as important as just considering bluff body shape to improve the efficiency of the low-speed wind piezoelectric energy harvesting system.