Energy harvesting from underwater torsional vibrations of a patterned ionic polymer metal composite

Youngsu Cha, Linfeng Shen, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we study underwater energy harvesting from torsional vibrations of an ionic polymer metal composite (IPMC) with patterned electrodes. We focus on harmonic base excitation of a centimeter-size IPMC, which is modeled as a slender beam with thin cross-section vibrating in a viscous fluid. Large-amplitude torsional vibrations are described using a complex hydrodynamic function, which accounts for added mass and nonlinear hydrodynamic damping from the surrounding fluid. A linear black box model is utilized to predict the IPMC electrical response as a function of the total twist angle. Model parameters are identified from in-air transient response, underwater steady-state vibrations, and electrical discharge experiments. The resulting electromechanical model allows for predicting energy harvesting from the IPMC as a function of the shunting resistance and the frequency and amplitude of the base excitation. Model results are validated against experimental findings that demonstrate power harvesting densities on the order of picowatts per millimeter cubed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055027
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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