Table of Contents
Smart Materials Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 387638, 7 pages
Research Article

Power Harvesting Capabilities of SHM Ultrasonic Sensors

1IEMN, UMR CNRS 8520, Département OAE, Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut Cambrésis, Le Mont Houy, 59313 Valenciennes Cedex 9, France
2Airbus Operations Limited, Bristol BS99 7AR, UK

Received 19 January 2012; Accepted 9 March 2012

Academic Editor: Mickaël Lallart

Copyright © 2012 Christophe Delebarre et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this work is to show that classical Structural Health Monitoring ultrasonic sensors may provide some power harvesting capabilities from a wide variety of vibration sources. In other words, the authors developed an integrated piezoelectric energy harvesting sensor capable of operating a dual mode, that is, carrying out vibration power harvesting and Structural Health Monitoring. First, vibrations signals of an A380 aircraft recorded during different phases of flight are presented to show the need of a wideband piezoelectric energy harvester. Then, the voltage response of a piezoelectric power harvester bonded onto an aluminium cantilever plate and excited by an electromechanical shaker is measured. A finite element model of the energy harvester system is also presented. This model provides the voltage response of the harvester due to a mechanical excitation of the host structure and allows a better understanding of the energy harvesting process. In many cases, a good agreement with the experimental results is obtained. A power measurement also showed the ability of piezoelectric SHM sensors to harvest power over an extended frequency range present in spectra collected in aircrafts. This result could lead to numerous applications even though this kind of power harvester sensor has been initially designed to operate onboard aircrafts.