Mechanical energy from vibrations is widespread in the ambient environment. It may be harvested efficiently using triboelectric generators. Nevertheless, a harvester’s effectiveness is restricted because of the limited bandwidth. To this end, this paper presents a comprehensive theoretical and experimental investigation of a variable frequency energy harvester, which integrates a vibro-impact triboelectric-based harvester and magnetic nonlinearity to increase the operation bandwidth and improve the efficiency of conventional triboelectric harvesters. A cantilever beam with a tip magnet was aligned with another fixed magnet at the same polarity to induce a nonlinear magnetic repulsive force. A triboelectric harvester was integrated into the system by utilizing the lower surface of the tip magnet to serve as the top electrode of the harvester, while the bottom electrode with an attached polydimethylsiloxane insulator was placed underneath. Numerical simulations were performed to examine the impact of the potential wells formed by the magnets. The structure’s static and dynamic behaviors at varying excitation levels, separation distance, and surface charge density are all discussed. In order to develop a variable frequency system with a wide bandwidth, the system’s natural frequency varies by changing the distance between the two magnets to reduce or magnify the magnetic force to achieve monostable or bistable oscillations. When the system is excited by vibrations, the beams vibrate, which causes an impact between the triboelectric layers. An alternating electrical signal is generated from a periodic contact-separation motion between the harvester’s electrodes. Our theoretical findings were experimentally validated. The findings of this study have the potential to pave the way for the development of an effective energy harvester that is capable of scavenging energy from ambient vibrations across a broad range of excitation frequencies. The frequency bandwidth was found to increase by 120% at threshold distance compared to the conventional energy harvester. Nonlinear impact-driven triboelectric energy harvesters can effectively broaden the operational frequency bandwidth and enhance the harvested energy.


© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).



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