Self-powered dynamic systems

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A self-powered dynamic system[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] is defined as a dynamic system powered by its own excessive kinetic energy, renewable energy or a combination of both. The particular area of work is the concept of fully or partially self-powered dynamic systems requiring zero or reduced external energy inputs. The exploited technologies are particularly associated with self-powered sensors, regenerative actuators, human powered devices, and dynamic systems powered by renewable resources (e.g. solar-powered airships[8][9]) as self-sustained systems. Various strategies can be employed to improve the design of a self-powered system and among them adopting a bio-inspired design is investigated to demonstrate the advantage of biomimetics in improving power density.

The concept of self-powered dynamic systems

The concept of "self-powered dynamic systems" in the figure is described as follows.

I. Input power (e.g. fuel energy powering a vehicle engine or propulsion system), or input excitation (e.g. vibration excitation to a structure) to the system. The source of this input energy can be of renewable energy source (e.g. solar power to a dynamic system).

II. The kinetic energy in the direction of motion of a dynamic system is only recovered if the system is stationary (e.g. a bridge structure), or the recoverable energy is negligible in comparison with the power required for motion (e.g. a low powered sensor).

III. The movement of the dynamic system perpendicular to the desired direction of the motion is usually the wasted kinetic energy in the system (e.g. the vertical motion of an automobile suspension is wasted to heat energy in the shock absorbers, or vibration of an aircraft wing is converted into heat energy through structural damping).

IV. The vertical movement of the dynamic system is a source of recoverable kinetic energy.

V. The recoverable kinetic energy can be converted to electrical energy through an energy conversion mechanism such as an electromagnetic scheme (e.g. replacing the viscous damper of a car shock absorber with regenerative actuator), piezoelectric (e.g. embedding piezoelectric material in aircraft wings), or electrostatic (e.g. vibration of a micro cantilever in a MEMS sensor).

VI. The recovered electrical power can be stored or used as a power source.

VII. The recovered electrical energy can power subsystems of the dynamic system such as sensors and actuators.

VIII. The recovered electrical power can be realized as an input to the dynamic system itself.

Such self-powered schemes are particularly beneficial in development of self-powered sensors[10] and self-powered actuators[11] by employing energy harvesting techniques,[12][13][14] where kinetic energy is converted to electrical energy through piezoelectric, electromagnetic or electrostatic electromechanical mechanisms.[15] Developing a self-powered sensor eliminates the use of an external source of power such as a battery and therefore can be considered as a self-sustained system. A self-sustained system does not required maintenance (e.g. replacing the battery of the sensor at the end of the battery life). This is particularly beneficial in remote sensing and applications in hostile or inaccessible environments.


  1. ^ [1] Farbod Khoshnoud, David J. Dell, Y. K. Chen, R. K. Calay, Clarence W. de Silva, Houman Owhadi, Self-Powered Dynamic Systems, European Conference for Aeronautics and Space Sciences, Munich, Germany, 1–5 July 2013.
  2. ^ [2] Farbod Khoshnoud, Ibrahim I. Esat, Clarence W. de Silva, Michael M. McKerns and Houman Owhadi, Self-Powered Dynamic Systems in the Framework of Optimal Uncertainty Quantification, ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control, Volume 139, Issue 9, 2017, doi: 10.1115/1.4036367.
  3. ^ [3] Farbod Khoshnoud, Ibrahim I. Esat, Clarence W. De Silva, Jason Rhodes, Alina Kiessling, Marco B. Quadrelli, Self-powered Solar Aerial Vehicles: towards infinite endurance UAVs, Unmanned Systems Journal, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2020, pp. 1–23. DOI: 10.1142/S2301385020500077.
  4. ^ [4] Farbod Khoshnoud, Y. Zhang, R. Shimura, A. Shahba, G. Jin, G. Pissanidis, Y.K. Chen, Clarence W. De Silva, Energy regeneration from suspension dynamic modes and self-powered actuation, IEEE/ASME transaction on Mechatronics, Volume: 20, Issue: 5, pp. 2513 - 2524, 2015.
  5. ^ [5] Clarence W. de Silva, Farbod Khoshnoud, Maoqing Li, Saman K. Halgamuge, Mechatronics: Fundamentals and Applications, (Chapter 12: Self-Powered and Bio-Inspired Dynamic Systems), CRC Press, 2015, ISBN 9781482239317.
  6. ^ [6] Farbod Khoshnoud, Michael McKerns, Clarence W. De Silva, Ibrahim Esat, Richard H.C. Bonser, Houman Owhadi, Self-powered and Bio-inspired Dynamic Systems: Research and Education, ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, 2016.
  7. ^ [7] Vladimir V. Vantsevich, Michael V. Blundell, Advanced Autonomous Vehicle Design for Severe Environments, (Chapter: Farbod Khoshnoud, Clarence W. de Silva, Mechatronics of vehicle control and self-powered systems), IOS Press, sponsored by NATO Advanced Science Institute, ISBN online 978-1-61499-576-0, 2015.
  8. ^ [8] Brunel Solar Powered Robotic Airship - Octoship.
  9. ^ [9] Brunel Solar Powered Autonomous Airship.
  10. ^ [10] Farbod Khoshnoud, Houman Owhadi, Clarence W. de Silva, Weidong Zhu and Carlos E. Ventura, Energy harvesting from ambient vibration with a nanotube based oscillator for remote vibration monitoring, Proc. of the Canadian Congress of Applied Mechanics, Vancouver, BC, pp. 805 – 808, June 2011.
  11. ^ [11] Farbod Khoshnoud, Dinesh B. Sundar, Nuri M. Badi, Yong K. Chen, Rajnish K. Calay and Clarence W. de Silva, Energy harvesting from suspension systems using regenerative force actuators, International Journal of Vehicle Noise and Vibration, Vol. 9, Nos. 3/4, pp. 294 - 311, 2013.
  12. ^ [12] Williams, C. B., and R. B. Yates. 1996. Analysis of a micro-electric generator for Microsystems, Sensors and Actuators A. 52, pp. 8–11.
  13. ^ [13] James, E. P., M. J. Tudor, S. P. Beeby, N. R. Harris, P. Glynne-Jones, J. N. Ross, N. M. White. 2004. An investigation of self-powered systems for condition monitoring, applications. Sensors and Actuators A, 110, 171–176.
  14. ^ [14] Roundy, S., P. K. Wright, and J. Rabaey. 2003. A study of low level vibrations as a power source for wireless sensor nodes. Computer Communications, 26, pp. 1131–1144.
  15. ^ [15] Clarence W. De Silva, Mechatronics—A Foundation Course, CRC Press/Taylor&Francis. Boca Raton, FL, 2010.