The initial idea of the design started from using springs or snap buttons as materials to put mechanical pressure on the discs when the piezoelectrical discs are stepped on. Since the discs are fragile, there was also an option for a cushion-like material that can absorb the great mechanical pressure and gently press the center of the piezo discs.
Piezoelectricity, which is also known as the piezoelectric effect, is the capability of specific matters “to generate an AC (alternating current) voltage when subjected to mechanical stress or vibration” (What Is Piezoelectricity?). Piezoelectric discs use this piezoelectric effect to create and use an electrical yield when some kind of mechanical force, pressure, or vibration is put on (Piezo Disc Actuators - Piezoelectric Actuator Products). Piezoelectricity is highly linked with renewable energy because “the stimuli for piezoelectric materials can be human walking, wind, rain, tide, and wave, etc” (Vatansever). This characteristic of piezoelectric discs and the use of this can be a potential solution to the energy production problems since it could replace the non-renewable energy sources which results in a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
For the prototypes, both parallel and series circuits were used. The piezoelectric discs were connected on PCB boards by soldering them individually using two different circuit styles, parallel and series. Then to check whether the circuit is working or not, LED was used. The brightness of light produced varied depending on the prototypes and also depending on the different types of mechanical pressure applied on the boards. Both parallel and series worked.
To determine which material works most effectively without any damage to the piezoelectric discs, mechanical pressure was put on several times by tapping with hands and stepping on the boards. Both of the materials damaged the discs, even when the discs were covered with a thin layer of foam sheet. Silicon bumper pads seemed to work without causing any damage to the piezo discs.
Conclusion and Future Applications
Through the various experiments and observations on the prototypes and change of materials, it can be concluded that when developing a platform to harvest energy by using the piezoelectric discs, the discs’ position and the way of it attached to the ground matter. The prototypes that were developed using solid and inflexible materials were checked, and the discs broke when pressure is put on due to their fragile characteristic. Yet, when silicon pads were used, the discs produced a constant amount of energy without resulting in any kind of change in their shape. Moreover, the discs had to be centered on the title structure because it reaches the maximum point and generates energy when mechanical pressure is put on.
When this platform, named ‘Energy Tile’ is developed further in the future, there are different real-life applications of this product. For example, it can be attached to the floor as tiles or implemented as the floor itself in a place where many people visit, so the mechanical pressure people apply as they walk or run can generate energy and be used for diverse purposes. Furthermore, it can be developed and used to obtain energy from rain or waves, when those put on pressure on the product.
In this work, Yumin eagers to observe a highly potential renewable energy to obtain electricty
Developing Piezoelectric Based Platform to Harvest Energy from Footsteps