Electrical power management and optimization with nonlinear energy harvesting structures

Wen Cai, Ryan L. Harne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In recent years, great advances in understanding the opportunities for nonlinear vibration energy harvesting systems have been achieved giving attention to either the structural or electrical subsystems. Yet, a notable disconnect appears in the knowledge on optimal means to integrate nonlinear energy harvesting structures with effective nonlinear rectifying and power management circuits for practical applications. Motivated to fill this knowledge gap, this research employs impedance principles to investigate power optimization strategies for a nonlinear vibration energy harvester interfaced with a bridge rectifier and a buck-boost converter. The frequency and amplitude dependence of the internal impedance of the harvester structure challenges the conventional impedance matching concepts. Instead, a system-level optimization strategy is established and validated through simulations and experiments. Through careful studies, the means to optimize the electrical power with partial information of the electrical load is revealed and verified in comparison to the full analysis. These results suggest that future study and implementation of optimal nonlinear energy harvesting systems may find effective guidance through power flow concepts built on linear theories despite the presence of nonlinearities in structures and circuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-227
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering


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