Table of Contents
Smart Materials Research
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 410316, 14 pages
Review Article

Recent Advances in Energy Harvesting Technologies for Structural Health Monitoring Applications

School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Washington State University Tri-Cities, 2710 Crimson Way, Richland, WA 99354, USA

Received 23 September 2013; Revised 31 January 2014; Accepted 1 February 2014; Published 13 April 2014

Academic Editor: Hideki Hosoda

Copyright © 2014 Joseph Davidson and Changki Mo. 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.


This paper reviews recent developments in energy harvesting technologies for structural health monitoring applications. Many industries have a great deal of interest in obtaining technology that can be used to monitor the health of machinery and structures. In particular, the need for autonomous monitoring of structures has been ever-increasing in recent years. Autonomous SHM systems typically include embedded sensors, data acquisition, wireless communication, and energy harvesting systems. Among all of these components, this paper focuses on the energy harvesting technologies. Since low-power sensors and wireless communications are used in newer SHM systems, a number of researchers have recently investigated techniques to extract energy from the local environment to power these stand-alone systems. Ambient energy sources include vibration, thermal gradients, solar, wind, pressure, etc. If the structure has a rich enough loading, then it may be possible to extract the needed power directly from the structure itself. Harvesting energy using piezoelectric materials by converting applied stress to electricity is most common. Other methods to harvest energy such as electromagnetic, magnetostrictive, or thermoelectric generator are also reviewed. Lastly, an energy harvester with frequency tuning capability is demonstrated.