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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

IIT Mandi researchers create new tech to boost electricity generation from walking on special floor tiles

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The Indian Institute of Technology Mandi researchers have proposed a technique to enhance the power output of piezoelectric materials. These materials can be used in floor tiles to generate electricity from human walking, or on roads, where the weight from the vehicles can power road lights and signals
In this, researchers have numerically studied piezoelectric materials – materials that interconvert mechanical energy and electrical energy – and have proposed a new arrangement to enhance the electrical output of these materials when subjected to stress.
The problem with piezoelectric materials is that the electrical energy produced by these materials is very low, which limits their applications in real life situations.
“We have developed a technique known as “graded poling” to enhance the power output of piezoelectric materials by more than 100 times”, claims Dr Rahul Vaish. The researchers have used numerical techniques to utilise multiple mechanical stresses – bending, compressive and tensile stresses at the top and bottom of the piezoelectric cantilever beams and shear stresses in the mid-section – in order to significantly improve the electrical output.
“The results of this study and the enormous improvements possible through the graded poling technique offers incentive for researchers to develop actual piezoelectric designs that implement the graded poling technique so that the applications can be realised. The researchers recommend possible steps to achieve these designs in practice, such as partially connecting the right face of the sample to ground and top faces being applied with an electric potential,” said IIT Mandi in a statement.
Piezoelectric materials can do the reverse as well – generate mechanical motion in response to electrical energy. Thus improving the mechanical-electrical energy interconversion efficiency can enable engineering applications such as reduction of vibration and noise and advanced technological applications such as positioning and steering of satellite antennas in space.

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