Smart Systems for Vibration Damping, Control and Energy Harvesting Based on Piezoelectric Actuators: Latest Findings and Applications

A special issue of Actuators (ISSN 2076-0825). This special issue belongs to the section "Actuator Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2024) | Viewed by 11252

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Industrial, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, Roma Tre University, 00146 Rome, Italy
Interests: active piezoelectric damping; structural dynamics; vibration control; smart structures; piezoelectric MEMS; vibrations in the human body; wave propagation in shells
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Industrial, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, Roma Tre University, 00146 Roma, Italy
Interests: MEMS/NEMS structural design and simulation; piezoelectric-based MEMS for biomedical and optical scanning applications; MEMS/NEMS dynamic analysis; smart materials based vibration damping; PZT actuators optimal positioning; turbomachinery blades vibration damping; design and development whole body vibration (WBV) devices for rehabilitation purposes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, many studies have focused on the development of novel smart-material systems which offer the opportunity to modulate systems’ responses through external stimuli, such as strain, magnetic field, electric field, temperature, etc. Shape-memory alloys, electrorheological and magnetorheological fluids and piezoelectrics are the most promising materials for use in vibration damping and control, energy harvesting, precision positioning devices, actuators and sensors’ development. Smart materials have several valuable features; for instance, piezoelectrics have large bandwidths, fast responses to stimuli and high displacement resolutions.

In this Special Issue, we focus on the recent advancements and novel techniques in modeling, placement optimization strategies, experiments and new applications, at the macro-scale, based on smart materials. Review and special topic papers are also welcome. 

Specific topics of interest include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Piezoelectric actuators’ design and modeling;
  • Passive and active vibration control;
  • Energy harvesting;
  • Optimal placement strategies;
  • Structural health monitoring;
  • Aerospace applications;
  • Bio-medical applications.

Prof. Dr. Fabio Botta
Dr. Andrea Rossi
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • actuators
  • active vibration control
  • passive vibration control
  • energy harvesting
  • precision positioning
  • optimal placement
  • structural health monitoring

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 6017 KiB  
Article
On the Evolution of Stress and Microstructure in Radio Frequency-Sputtered Lead-Free (Ba,Ca)(Zr,Ti)O3 Thin Films
by Runar Plünnecke Dahl-Hansen, Marit Synnøve Sæverud Stange, Tor Olav Sunde, Johan Henrik Ræder and Per Martin Rørvik
Actuators 2024, 13(3), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13030115 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 650
Abstract
Thin-film piezoelectrics are widely investigated for actuators and energy harvesters, but there are few alternatives to toxic lead zirconate titanate. Biocompatible Ca- and Zr-modified BaTiO3 (BCZT) is one of the most promising lead-free alternatives due to its high piezoelectric response. However, the [...] Read more.
Thin-film piezoelectrics are widely investigated for actuators and energy harvesters, but there are few alternatives to toxic lead zirconate titanate. Biocompatible Ca- and Zr-modified BaTiO3 (BCZT) is one of the most promising lead-free alternatives due to its high piezoelectric response. However, the dielectric/piezoelectric properties and structural integrity of BCZT films, which are crucial for their applications, are strongly influenced by the substrate upon which the film is grown and the related processing methods. Here, the in-plane stress, microstructure, dielectric, and piezoelectric properties of 100–500 nm thick high-temperature RF-sputtered BCZT films on industrially relevant Si-based substrates were investigated. Obtaining polycrystalline piezoelectric films required deposition temperatures ≥ 700 °C, but this induced tensile stresses of over 1500 MPa, which caused cracking in all films thicker than 200 nm. This degraded the dielectric, piezoelectric, and ferroelectric properties of films with larger electrode areas for applications. Films on SrTiO3, on the other hand, had a compressive residual stress, with fewer defects and no cracks. The grain size and surface roughness increased with increasing deposition temperature. These findings highlight the challenges in processing BCZT films and their crucial role in advancing lead-free piezoelectric technologies for actual device applications. Full article
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14 pages, 2542 KiB  
Article
Ferroelectret Polypropylene Foam-Based Piezoelectric Energy Harvester for Different Seismic Mass Conditions
by Chandana Ravikumar and Vytautas Markevicius
Actuators 2023, 12(5), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12050215 - 22 May 2023
Viewed by 1176
Abstract
Energy harvesting technologies and material science has made it possible to tap into the abundant amount of surrounding vibrational energy to efficiently convert it into useable energy providing power to portable electronics and IoT devices. Recent investigations show that the piezoelectric effect is [...] Read more.
Energy harvesting technologies and material science has made it possible to tap into the abundant amount of surrounding vibrational energy to efficiently convert it into useable energy providing power to portable electronics and IoT devices. Recent investigations show that the piezoelectric effect is created in cellular polymers called ferroelectrets. These cellular-compliant polymers with polarized pores have a piezoelectric response to generate electrical energy when subjected to mechanical strain or surrounding vibration. It is found that there is a significant difference between ferroelectret polarized cellular polypropylene foam and traditional piezoelectric polymers such as polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). The former has approximately ten times higher piezoelectric coefficient than the latter. This means that with an acceleration of 9.81 m/s2 force on this material, ferroelectrets generate up to 39 (µW/g/mm3) power output. Designing a polypropylene-based piezoelectric energy harvester based on the d33 mode of vibration can be challenging due to several factors, as it requires balancing multiple factors such as mechanical stability, piezoelectric response, circuit topology, electrode size, spacing, placement relative to the piezoelectric material, and so on. This paper proposes the preliminary experimental investigation of ferroelectret cellular polypropylene foam in harvesting performance. Suggestions of different approaches for the structural design of energy harvesters are provided. The vibration-dependent response and generated output are examined concerning pulse or sinusoidal input excitation. The voltage generated for both excitations is compared and suggestions are provided regarding the suitable kind of excitation for the chosen ferroelectret material. Finally, conclusions and prospects for ferroelectret materials used in energy-harvesting applications are given. Full article
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14 pages, 1548 KiB  
Article
Optimal Voltage Distribution on PZT Actuator Pairs for Vibration Damping in Beams with Different Boundary Conditions
by Andrea Rossi and Fabio Botta
Actuators 2023, 12(2), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12020085 - 16 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1450
Abstract
In recent decades, many studies have been conducted on the use of smart materials in order to dampen and control vibrations. Lead zirconate titanate piezoceramics (PZT) are very attractive for such applications due to their ability of delivering high energy strain in the [...] Read more.
In recent decades, many studies have been conducted on the use of smart materials in order to dampen and control vibrations. Lead zirconate titanate piezoceramics (PZT) are very attractive for such applications due to their ability of delivering high energy strain in the structure. A pair of piezoelectric actuators can actively dampen the resonances of the structure, but the damping effectiveness strongly relies on its location. Damping effectiveness can be substantially increased if the structure is fully covered with PZT actuator pairs and the voltage distribution on each pair is optimized. In this way, each actuator pair contributes to the vibration attenuation and only the driving voltage’s sign, distributed on each actuator pair, needs to be identified for each resonance. This approach is here applied to the case of Euler–Bernoulli beams with constant cross-section and the optimal voltage distribution is investigated for several boundary conditions. The theoretical model results were corroborated with finite element simulations, which were carried out considering beams covered by ten PZT actuator pairs. The numerical results agree remarkably well with the theoretical predictions for each examined case (i.e., free-free, pinned-pinned, and fixed-fixed). Full article
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15 pages, 1717 KiB  
Article
Optimised Voltage Distribution on Piezoelectric Actuators for Modal Excitations Damping in Tapered Beams
by Andrea Rossi and Fabio Botta
Actuators 2023, 12(2), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12020071 - 09 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1119
Abstract
Vibration mitigation is a prominent matter in several engineering fields. Several adverse phenomena are related to vibrations, such as fatigue, noise, etc. The availability of smart materials increases the solutions for both vibration damping and energy harvesting applications. Piezoelectric materials seem to be [...] Read more.
Vibration mitigation is a prominent matter in several engineering fields. Several adverse phenomena are related to vibrations, such as fatigue, noise, etc. The availability of smart materials increases the solutions for both vibration damping and energy harvesting applications. Piezoelectric materials seem to be the most promising for these applications. However, their positioning significantly affects their efficiency. Several studies were performed on the positioning of piezoelectric actuators to dampen a target resonance in cantilever beams with constant cross-sections. Here, an analytical model for the optimal voltage distribution on an array of piezoceramic (PZT) actuator pairs is proposed in the case of tapered beams. The effect of tapering on the optimal voltage distribution was investigated for several eigenmode excitations and tapering ratios. The model outcomes were corroborated via FEM simulations and a fair agreement was found for each considered case. Full article
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19 pages, 7811 KiB  
Article
An Analytical–Numerical Method for Simulating the Performance of Piezoelectric Harvesters Mounted on Wing Slats
by Domenico Tommasino, Federico Moro, Eneko Zumalde, Jan Kunzmann and Alberto Doria
Actuators 2023, 12(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12010029 - 07 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1448
Abstract
Recently, there have been significant developments in the field of vibration energy harvesters to feed sensors for structural health monitoring in aeronautics and other high technology fields. Within the framework of the EU InComEss project, new eco-friendly piezoelectric materials are under development. A [...] Read more.
Recently, there have been significant developments in the field of vibration energy harvesters to feed sensors for structural health monitoring in aeronautics and other high technology fields. Within the framework of the EU InComEss project, new eco-friendly piezoelectric materials are under development. A foreseen application is vibration energy harvesting from the wing slats of aircraft. Semi-analytical models of the vibrating slat make it possible to estimate the maximum voltage that can be generated by a piezoelectric patch bonded to a slat surface. A more detailed analysis must consider details of the three-dimensional geometry of both the harvester and the bonding layer. This can only be carried out with multiphysics finite element software. A finite element model of a whole slat would require a large computational effort as millions of elements are typically needed to model very thin piezoelectric layers. To simplify this analysis, an integrated analytical–numerical method is proposed in this paper. A large-scale analytical model of the whole slat was used to calculate loads on the portion of the slat where a piezoelectric patch was attached. Then, a small-scale finite element model of the portion of the slat with the piezoelectric patch was used to calculate the open circuit voltage generated by the patch. The response of the harvester to random excitation, typical of aeronautic applications, was calculated. The effects of the details of the harvester design on the generated voltage were analyzed and discussed. Full article
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Review

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29 pages, 1103 KiB  
Review
A Review of Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting: Materials, Design, and Readout Circuits
by Eugenio Brusa, Anna Carrera and Cristiana Delprete
Actuators 2023, 12(12), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12120457 - 08 Dec 2023
Viewed by 2505
Abstract
Mechanical vibrational energy, which is provided by continuous or discontinuous motion, is an infinite source of energy that may be found anywhere. This source may be utilized to generate electricity to replenish batteries or directly power electrical equipment thanks to energy harvesters. The [...] Read more.
Mechanical vibrational energy, which is provided by continuous or discontinuous motion, is an infinite source of energy that may be found anywhere. This source may be utilized to generate electricity to replenish batteries or directly power electrical equipment thanks to energy harvesters. The new gadgets are based on the utilization of piezoelectric materials, which can transform vibrating mechanical energy into useable electrical energy owing to their intrinsic qualities. The purpose of this article is to highlight developments in three independent but closely connected multidisciplinary domains, starting with the piezoelectric materials and related manufacturing technologies related to the structure and specific application; the paper presents the state of the art of materials that possess the piezoelectric property, from classic inorganics such as PZT to lead-free materials, including biodegradable and biocompatible materials. The second domain is the choice of harvester structure, which allows the piezoelectric material to flex or deform while retaining mechanical dependability. Finally, developments in the design of electrical interface circuits for readout and storage of electrical energy given by piezoelectric to improve charge management efficiency are discussed. Full article
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33 pages, 5274 KiB  
Review
Performance of Smart Materials-Based Instrumentation for Force Measurements in Biomedical Applications: A Methodological Review
by Gabriele Bocchetta, Giorgia Fiori, Salvatore Andrea Sciuto and Andrea Scorza
Actuators 2023, 12(7), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/act12070261 - 25 Jun 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1954
Abstract
The introduction of smart materials will become increasingly relevant as biomedical technologies progress. Smart materials sense and respond to external stimuli (e.g., chemical, electrical, mechanical, or magnetic signals) or environmental circumstances (e.g., temperature, illuminance, acidity, or humidity), and provide versatile platforms for studying [...] Read more.
The introduction of smart materials will become increasingly relevant as biomedical technologies progress. Smart materials sense and respond to external stimuli (e.g., chemical, electrical, mechanical, or magnetic signals) or environmental circumstances (e.g., temperature, illuminance, acidity, or humidity), and provide versatile platforms for studying various biological processes because of the numerous analogies between smart materials and biological systems. Several applications based on this class of materials are being developed using different sensing principles and fabrication technologies. In the biomedical field, force sensors are used to characterize tissues and cells, as feedback to develop smart surgical instruments in order to carry out minimally invasive surgery. In this regard, the present work provides an overview of the recent scientific literature regarding the developments in force measurement methods for biomedical applications involving smart materials. In particular, performance evaluation of the main methods proposed in the literature is reviewed on the basis of their results and applications, focusing on their metrological characteristics, such as measuring range, linearity, and measurement accuracy. Classification of smart materials-based force measurement methods is proposed according to their potential applications, highlighting advantages and disadvantages. Full article
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