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Energy Harvesting for Engineering Educators

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

23

Page Numbers

22.565.1 - 22.565.23

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17846

Download Count

44

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Paper Authors

biography

Eric C. Dierks University of Texas, Austin

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Mr. Dierks is currently a Master's student at The University of Texas, Austin working on powering structural health monitoring systems through energy harvesting and scavenging. He also earned a B.S.M.E. from the same university in 2008. Following this, he worked for the Institute for Advanced Technology in Austin modeling, simulating, optimizing, and testing battery-inductor pulsed power supplies for electromagnetic rail guns for the U.S. Army and Navy. There, he also briefly served as a reviewer for Carnegie Mellon's autonomous platform demonstrator robotic program.

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Jason M. Weaver University of Texas, Austin

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Jason Weaver is a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. His current research focuses on the development of energy harvesting technology, with special emphasis on piezoelectric vibration harvesting and functional analysis. Previously, he earned his M.S. from The University of Texas, Austin and his B.S. from Brigham Young University.

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Kristin L. Wood University of Texas, Austin

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Kristin Wood is the Cullen Trust Endowed Professor in Engineering and the University Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Wood’s current research interests focus on innovative product design, development, and evolution. The current and near-future objective of this research is to develop design strategies, representations, and languages that will result in more comprehensive design tools, innovation processes, innovative manufacturing techniques, and design teaching aids at the college, pre-college, and industrial levels. Contact: wood@mail.utexas.edu

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Kendra Crider U.S. Air Force Academy

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Kendra Crider is a major in the U.S. Air Force and an assistant professor at the Air Force Academy in the Engineering Mechanics department. Maj. Crider’s areas of interest are in systems engineering, concept generation, students’ retention of academic material, and optics. She is currently working with a group of undergraduate capstone students to design and develop an energy harvesting prototype that will be used to power health monitoring systems.

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Daniel D. Jensen U.S. Air Force Academy

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Dr. Dan Jensen is a Professor of Engineering Mechanics at the U.S. Air Force Academy where he has been since 1997. He received his B.S. (Mechanical Engineering), M.S. (Applied Mechanics) and Ph.D. (Aerospace Engineering Science) from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has worked for Texas Instruments, Lockheed Martin, NASA, University of the Pacific, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and MSC Software Corp. His research includes development of innovative design methodologies and enhancement of engineering education.

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Abstract

Energy Harvesting for Engineering Educators Engineering education should include preparing the student not only for employmentopportunities and research currently in demand, but also for those fields and technological areasthat are emerging in the near and distant future. This paper serves to inform engineeringeducators about the new and exciting field of energy harvesting such that the subject may beintroduced to students who will soon enter industry or academia. An example of its use withsenior-level engineering undergraduate and graduate students is then presented. This effort is tosupport the hypothesis that exposing students to new and upcoming engineering fields, such asenergy harvesting, has the potential to plant a seed of inspiration in our students, growing theirinterest, excitement and dedication to engineering. Energy harvesting is an emerging technological field with potential to find its way into inthe everyday life of the public. It is a broad field generally defined as the capture and conversionof ambient energy such as wind into electrical energy to be stored and used. A sub-category ofenergy harvesting is energy scavenging, which involves capturing ambient energy that is notregularly predictable with ease, available in short spurts over long periods of time, and wouldotherwise go unused and lost as waste heat or noise. The rapid growth of smart electronic deviceshas placed a large demand on rechargeable batteries, which are the default power supplyconsidered in most product design. Additionally, industry seeks to explore sustainable poweralternatives due to the increasing cost of fossil fuels and their growing political andenvironmental limitations. The push for renewable sources of energy over the past severaldecades has resulted in advancements of solar, wind and fuel cell technologies on large scales.Energy harvesting expands upon this work while focusing on numerous, small-scale devicesoften networked with sensors, such as solar powered gas pipeline monitoring or helicopter rotormonitoring powered through the vibrations of flight. In conjunction with an overview of the field, the paper includes an exploration ofpossible uses, types, and combinations of energy harvesters by a group of senior-levelengineering undergraduates and graduate students at two universities. The students collaborateon a joint project to innovatively capture energy from the environment to power sensors andtransmitters which detect cracks in bridges in an automated and high-fidelity fashion, replacingmanual inspections. This project exemplifies the energy harvesting field as an excitingeducational tool useful for preparing students for work in industry. Furthermore, the explorationpresented in this paper seeks to demonstrate the integration of emerging technology studies inundergraduate curriculum while the students develop a suite of concepts to power healthmonitoring systems on various structures in varied environmental conditions. This explorationillustrates the energy harvesting field and its potential as an inspirational and educational tool forindustry.

Dierks, E. C., & Weaver, J. M., & Wood, K. L., & Crider, K., & Jensen, D. D. (2011, June), Energy Harvesting for Engineering Educators Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17846

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