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Energy Harvesting for Aerospace Structural Health Monitoring Systems

Pearson, Matthew R. ORCID:, Eaton, Mark Jonathan ORCID:, Pullin, Rhys ORCID:, Featherston, Carol Ann ORCID: and Holford, Karen Margaret ORCID: 2012. Energy Harvesting for Aerospace Structural Health Monitoring Systems. Journal of Physics. Conference Series 382 (1) , 012025. 10.1088/1742-6596/382/1/012025

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Recent research into damage detection methodologies, embedded sensors, wireless data transmission and energy harvesting in aerospace environments has meant that autonomous structural health monitoring (SHM) systems are becoming a real possibility. The most promising system would utilise wireless sensor nodes that are able to make decisions on damage and communicate this wirelessly to a central base station. Although such a system shows great potential and both passive and active monitoring techniques exist for detecting damage in structures, powering such wireless sensors nodes poses a problem. Two such energy sources that could be harvested in abundance on an aircraft are vibration and thermal gradients. Piezoelectric transducers mounted to the surface of a structure can be utilised to generate power from a dynamic strain whilst thermoelectric generators (TEG) can be used to generate power from thermal gradients. This paper reports on the viability of these two energy sources for powering a wireless SHM system from vibrations ranging from 20 to 400Hz and thermal gradients up to 50°C. Investigations showed that using a single vibrational energy harvester raw power levels of up to 1mW could be generated. Further numerical modelling demonstrated that by optimising the position and orientation of the vibrational harvester greater levels of power could be achieved. However using commercial TEGs average power levels over a flight period between 5 to 30mW could be generated. Both of these energy harvesting techniques show a great potential in powering current wireless SHM systems where depending on the complexity the power requirements range from 1 to 180mW.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Centre for Advanced Manufacturing Systems At Cardiff (CAMSAC)
Subjects: T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Publisher: Institute of Physics
ISSN: 1742-6588
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 07:19

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