Optimal parameters and power characteristics of piezoelectric energy harvesters with an RC circuit

Yabin Liao, Henry A. Sodano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


A piezoelectric based energy harvesting scheme is proposed here which places a capacitor before the load in the conditioning circuit. It is well known that the impedance between the load and source contributes greatly to the performance of the energy harvesting system. The additional capacitor provides flexibility in achieving the optimal impedance value and can be used to expand the bandwidth of the system. A theoretical model of the system is derived and the response of the system, as a function of both resistance and capacitance, is studied. The analysis shows that the energy harvesting performance is dominated by a bifurcation occurring as the electromechanical coupling increases above a certain value: below this point, the addition of an additional capacitor does not increase the performance of the systems; above it, the maximum power can be achieved at all points between these two bifurcation frequencies. Additionally, it has been found that the optimal capacitance is independent of the optimal resistance. Therefore, the necessary capacitance can be chosen, and then the resistance determined, for providing optimal energy harvesting at the desired frequencies. For systems with low coupling, the optimal added capacitance is negative (additional power to the circuit), indicating that a second capacitor should not be used. For systems with high coupling, the optimal capacitance becomes positive for a range of values between the bifurcation frequencies and can be used to extend the bandwidth of the harvesting system. The analysis also demonstrates that the same maximum energy can be harvested at any frequency; however, outside the two bifurcation frequencies the capacitor must be negative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number045011
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 18 2009

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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