Harmonic Simulation of Viscoelastic Polymer Microcantilever for Electrostrictive Energy Harvesters

N. Alcheikh[1], C. Ayela[1], I. Dufour[1]
[1]Univ. Bordeaux, IMS Lab, Pessac, France.

Electrostrictive polymers have been of significant interest over the last years for energy harvesting. Principle is based on the conversion of a mechanical deformation into electricity. The stored energy basically depends on the mechanical strain induced into an electrostrictive polymer by the mechanical resonant vibration of a microcantilever supporting the electrostrictive layer. In this work, in order to obtain large strains, polymer materials, which have small Young’s modulus, have been considered for the vibrating microcantilever. However the drawbacks of such materials are their viscoelastic properties which cause the major losses of the vibrating system. In this paper, microcantilever made of viscoelastic polymers is simulated with COMSOL Multiphysics® using two different vibration methods to deduce the losses in the system and then the quality factor, which is an important parameter for the energy harvester design.