Polish Research Yields Innovative 3D Printed Energy Harvester

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In ‘Pendulum base 3D printed electromagnetic energy harvester,’ researchers Krzysztof Adamski and Rafał Walczak from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology in Poland presented their findings after fabricating an innovative harvesting operating system via inkjet technology.

While pendulum microgenerators are already patented and manufactured by three other companies currently, the researchers explained that their designs are not only expensive but are also ‘indirect,’ centered on only one inductor coil and microgear system; therefore, Adamski and Walczak have created a new system for direct power generation, with magnets.

The researchers used Autodesk Inventor Pro for 3D design and a Projet 3510 3D printer for fabrication, with Visijet M3 Crystal build materials and S300 support material. The new device was offered in three parts:

  • Disk with mounted inductors coils
  • Pendulum with installed neodymium magnets
  • Housing

“Thanks to 3D printing technology housing can be specially, designed for desired application, in our case as a watch-like device,” explained the researchers.

Pendulum base energy harvester with described main components: a) computer design, b) physical realization, c) wearable device for smartwatch powering.

The harvester is comprised of:

  • Eight small neodymium magnets (1x3x5 mm3)
  • SMD 10 mH small (5x5x4 mm3)
  • Inductor coils
  • Precision bearings

Principle of operation of the harvester

Scheme of electrical connection of the harvester.

During this research study, the team installed a power generator inside watch-like housing, and then tested it. In progress, they noted the pendulum was in motion—oscillation, in fact—for each step of the process. The generator was offering output voltage, with a maximum peak-to-peak voltage amplitude at near 1.8 volts. The authors also noted voltage expiring in time. A charging of the capacitor was provided, and the research team also stated that ‘individual human steps on the base of electric signal’ were distinguishable.

The novel energy system can be used as a power source for smart wearables or simple monitoring systems; for instance, the forest or park service could use them to monitor animals and activity.

“3D printing is a powerful tool for fabrication of presented energy harvester. Described here, [the] energy harvester is based on EM energy conversion with rotating pendulum as EM field generator. Standard pendulum base generators are indirect and complicated,” concluded the researchers.

“[The] described here configuration is much simpler and utilized additive manufacturing technique. 3D printing is a powerful tool for mechanical components fabrication. Proper work of the harvester was archived. Maximal P-P voltage seems to be high enough to powered small sensors system with wireless communication module.”

3D printing is often connected with energy as researchers, manufacturers and users around the globe are continually seeking new ways to store and use resources. Batteries are a common design, and even products like wind turbines for urban areas to charge them, along with small devices. Sensors are often a source of research studies today in combination with electronics, energy, and monitoring systems for a wide range of purposes.

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[Source / Images: ‘Pendulum base 3D printed electromagnetic energy harvester’]

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