Index of content:
Volume 135, Issue 2, February 2014
- TRANSDUCTION 
Transient characteristics and stability analysis of standing wave thermoacoustic-piezoelectric harvesters135(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4861236View Description Hide Description
Standing wave thermoacoustic-piezoelectric (TAP) energy harvesters convert thermal energy, such as solar or waste heat energy, directly into electrical energy without the need for any moving components. The input thermal energy generates a steep temperature gradient along a porous medium called “stack.” At a critical threshold of the temperature gradient, self-sustained acoustic waves are developed inside an acoustic resonator. The associated pressure fluctuations impinge on a piezoelectric diaphragm, placed at the end of the resonator, to generate electricity. The behavior of this multi-field system is modeled using the electrical analogy approach. The developed model combines the descriptions of the acoustic resonator and the stack with the characteristics of the piezoelectric diaphragm. The equivalent electric network is analyzed to determine the system's stability and predict the temperature gradient necessary to developing self-sustained oscillations inside the harvester. The developed network is utilized also to investigate the transient performance of the harvester by employing the network theory and Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis software package. The established stability boundaries are validated against the predictions of the root locus technique. Furthermore, the obtained results are compared with experimental results extracted from testing a prototype of the harvester. The developed approach presents an innovative tool for the design of TAP energy harvesters.