Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi, have proposed a technique to improve the power output of piezoelectric materials that can be used in tiles to generate electrical power from human walking or on roads, according to officials.
Piezoelectric materials produce an electrical current when subjected to mechanical stress.
According to the team of researchers, they numerically studied piezoelectric materials that interconvert mechanical energy and electrical energy and have proposed a new arrangement to improve the electrical output of these materials when subjected to stress.
The results of the teamwork have been published in the journal Engineering Reports. “Piezoelectric materials can generate electrical energy when force is applied to them and are therefore extremely useful. Such materials can be used, for example, in tiles to generate electrical energy from human walking, or on roads, where the weight of vehicles can power the lights and road signs. However, currently, the electrical energy produced by these materials is very low, limiting their applications in real-life situations, ”said Rajeev Kumar, Associate Professor, IIT Mandi.
Rahul Vaish, also an associate professor at the institute, said: “We have developed a technique known as ‘graded poling’ to improve the power output of piezoelectric materials by more than 100 times. Researchers have used numerical techniques to utilize multiple mechanical stresses (bending, compression and traction stresses at the top and bottom of piezoelectric cantilever beams and shear stresses in the midsection) to significantly improve electrical output. ” Researchers have recommended possible steps to achieve these designs in practice, such as partially connecting the right face of the sample to the ground and applying the upper faces with electrical potential.
“The promise of generating greater amounts of electrical energy from mechanical movement can potentially enable applications where smart devices can be powered simply by human movement. Other applications could include power generation from shoe soles equipped with these materials.
Piezoelectric materials can also do the opposite: generate mechanical motion in response to electrical energy. Therefore, improving the efficiency of mechanical-electrical energy interconversion can enable engineering applications such as vibration and noise reduction and advanced technology applications such as positioning and steering of satellite antennas in space, ”said Kumar.
He said the researchers are expanding their work even further for a more accurate prediction of the effects of the proposed polishing technique on the mechanical properties of the material, which will offer a better understanding of how to take advantage of this technique in life applications real. Other team members included researchers Raj Kiran and Sourav Sharma, as well as Anuruddh Kumar, a former student of IIT Mandi.