Energy harvesting from flutter instabilities of heavy flags in water through ionic polymer metal composites

Alberto Giacomello, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In this paper, we analyze underwater energy harvesting from the flutter instability of a heavy flag hosting an ionic polymer metal composite (IPMC). The heavy flag comprises a highly compliant membrane with periodic metal reinforcements to maximize the weight and minimize the bending stiffness, thus promoting flutter at moderately low flow speed. An IPMC strip is mechanically attached to the host flag and connected to an external load. The entire structure is immersed in a background flow whose intensity is parametrically varied to explore the onset of flutter instability along with the relation between the vibration frequency and the mean flow speed. Manageable theoretical models for fluid-structure interaction and IPMC response are presented to inform the harvester design and interpret experimental data. Further, optimal parameters for energy scavenging maximization, including resistive load and flow conditions, are identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011
StatePublished - 2011
EventElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 7 2011Mar 10 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Energy harvesting
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Flutter
  • Ionic polymer metal composite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Energy harvesting from flutter instabilities of heavy flags in water through ionic polymer metal composites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this