Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a mechanical amplifier that amplifies the displacement amplitude or generated force of an energy transducer system. The amplifier is targeted towards applications such as vibration-energy harvesters and electromechanical sensors and actuators, and can be integrated with a variety of transducers types such as electromagnetic, piezoelectric, electrostatic, magnetostrictive, and electrostrictive.
The mechanical amplifier designed at the University of Michigan uses the underlying principles of levers or hydraulic presses to modify the inputs, or the output, of an energy transducer. When the associated transducer is used as an energy harvester, the amplifier is installed between the vibrating source and transducer, and the vibration amplitude of the source is magnified before transmission to the harvester. Since the output power of the harvester is proportional to the square of the vibration amplitude, the output of the harvester can be raised significantly with the use of the amplifier. When using the transducer as a sensor, for a given device sensitivity, increasing the input displacement improves the sensor’s response. Additionally, when using the transducer as an actuator, the mechanical amplifier can be used either to increase the amplitude of the output displacement or to increase the generated force of the actuator. Multiple amplifiers can also be installed in series to obtain higher amplification factors.
- Vibrating-energy harvesters
- Electromechanical sensors and actuators
- Positioning device systems
- Support for a variety of transducer types
- Increased energy harvester output
- Higher sensor response
- Increased actuator output displacement amplitude or actuator force