Application of bias voltage to tune the resonant frequency of membrane-based electroactive polymer energy harvesters

Lin Dong, Michael Grissom, Frank T. Fisher

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

5 Scopus citations


Vibration-based energy harvesting has been widely investigated to as a means to generate low levels of electrical energy for applications such as wireless sensor networks. However, for optimal performance it is necessary to ensure that resonant frequencies of the device match the ambient vibration frequencies for maximum energy harvested. Here a novel resonant frequency tuning approach is proposed by applying a bias voltage to a pre-stretched electroactive polymer (EAP) membrane, such that the resulting changes in membrane tension can tune the device to match the environmental vibration source. First, a material model which accounts for the change in properties due to the pre-stretch of a VHB 4910 EAP membrane is presented. The effect of the bias voltage on the EAP membrane, which induces an electrostatic pressure and corresponding reduction in membrane thickness, are then determined. The FEM results from ANSYS agree well with an analytical hyperelastic model of the activation response of the EAP membrane. Lastly, through a mass-loaded circular membrane vibration model, the effective resonant frequency of the energy harvester can be determined as a function of changes in membrane tension due to the applied bias voltage. In the case of an EAP membrane, pre-stretch contributes to the pre-stretch stiffness of the system while the applied bias voltage contributes to a change in bias voltage stiffness of the membrane. Preliminary experiments verified the resonant frequencies corresponding to the bias voltages predicted from the appropriate models. The proposed bias voltage tuning approach for the EAP membrane may provide a novel tuning strategy to enable energy harvesting from various ambient vibration sources in various application environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnergy Harvesting and Storage
Subtitle of host publicationMaterials, Devices, and Applications VII
EditorsNibir K. Dhar, Achyut K. Dutta
ISBN (Electronic)9781510601062
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventEnergy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications VII - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Apr 19 2016 → …

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceEnergy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications VII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Period4/19/16 → …

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Energy harvesting
  • bias voltage
  • electroactive polymer
  • frequency tuning
  • membrane
  • vibration


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