This invention presents energy harvesting embodiments, specifically for use in structural health monitoring systems and other sensor technologies. Condition based health monitoring systems find application in a wide spectrum of platforms, including railways trucks, bridges, ships, et al. However, many components currently used in such diagnostic systems are battery powered – increasing operation cost and adding additional complexity.
Energy harvesters provide a more robust and inexpensive power solution than batteries. This technology proposes energy harvesting devices that effectively reduce the number of batteries required and/or increase their lifetime. These energy harvesters may be integrated into existing battery housing, thereby replacing one or more batteries.
In one embodiment, the innovative inductive mechanism utilizes external vibrations to generate an AC magnetic field. Then with an inductive coil surrounding the suspended magnet system, the magnetic field can be converted into electric energy. The use of amplified piezoelectric transducers in the system allows further conversion to electricity.