Bistable energy harvesting enhancement with an auxiliary linear oscillator

R. L. Harne, M. Thota, K. W. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Recent work has indicated that linear vibrational energy harvesters with an appended degree-of-freedom (DOF) may be advantageous for introducing new dynamic forms to extend the operational bandwidth. Given the additional interest in bistable harvester designs, which exhibit a propitious snap through effect from one stable state to the other, it is a logical extension to explore the influence of an added DOF to a bistable system. However, bistable snap through is not a resonant phenomenon, which tempers the presumption that the dynamics induced by an additional DOF on bistable designs would inherently be beneficial as for linear systems. This paper presents two analytical formulations to assess the fundamental and superharmonic steady-state dynamics of an excited bistable energy harvester to which is attached an auxiliary linear oscillator. From an energy harvesting perspective, the model predicts that the additional linear DOF uniformly amplifies the bistable harvester response magnitude and generated power for excitation frequencies less than the attachment's resonance while improved power density spans a bandwidth below this frequency. Analyses predict bandwidths having co-existent responses composed of a unique proportion of fundamental and superharmonic dynamics. Experiments validate key analytical predictions and observe the ability for the coupled system to develop an advantageous multi-harmonic interwell response when the initial conditions are insufficient for continuous high-energy orbit at the excitation frequency. Overall, the addition of an auxiliary linear oscillator to a bistable harvester is found to be an effective means of enhancing the energy harvesting performance and robustness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125028
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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