Piezoelectric Generator





Simple diagram of the piezoelectric effect. Image by Mael Guennou - Titzeff.

Simple diagram of the piezoelectric effect. Image by Mael Guennou - Titzeff. License: GNU FDL

Piezoelectric generators work due to the piezoelectric effect. This is the ability of certain materials to create electrical potential when responding to mechanical changes. To put it more simply, when compressed or expanded or otherwise changing shape a piezoelectric material will output some voltage. This effect is also possible in reverse in the sense that putting a charge through the material will result in it changing shape or undergoing some mechanical stress. These materials are useful in a variety of ways. Certain piezoelectric materials can handle high voltage extremely well and are useful in transformers and other electrical components. It is also used to make motors, reduce vibrations in sensitive environments, and relevant to our interests it can be used as an energy collector. Let’s examine some of the ways it can be used for energy.

Some of the most obvious applications of piezoelectric materials for energy collection are personal energy generators that are enough to power phones, MP3 players, etc. The sole of your shoe could be constructed of piezoelectric materials and every step you took would begin to generate electricity. This could then be stored in a battery or used immediately in personal electronics devices.

One new idea that is gaining traction is to use the vibrations created by sound reverberating through piezoelectric materials to generate electricity. This means that while you’re driving your car listening to the radio, sitting outside in a park, or doing anything you could be converting sound to electricity.

Have a look at this video showing the piezoelectric effect in action. When the board hits the material it outputs enough energy to power the lights for a moment.

Piezoelectricity has hopeful future as a personal electrical generator. A few companies have even produced and sold charging devices already. It won’t be long before your MP3 player charges itself from the noise in the room or your morning jog.

Image shows a piezoelectric buzzer. Image by Gophi. License: GNU FDL

Many devices and technologies already use piezoelectricity though. Having a solid material that can transform shape when it becomes electrically charged is quite useful. As is a material that can generate that same charge when mechanically altered. For example, on the right you can see a piece from an alarm that passed a charge through a piezoelectric material wrapped around a metal disk. This would allow for a buzzing sound when the charge was rapidly cycled. Piezoelectrical charges are a new technology but one that will surely be invaluable to us in the near future.

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Comments

  1. Shivanand Kohalli says:

    Is this practically possible?? if yes can we install this crystal on footpath or roads(please specify how much power does 1 sq mtr of crystal produce)

  2. Danny Bruce says:

    Hai,
    i need to purchase this type of piezo-electric transducer which is mentioned in the pic above & I wish to know its output type(charge or voltage type), please help me to reach the vendors of this sensors

  3. Bob says:

    Shivanand,

    Power Out = Power In * Efficiency Factor

    The crystal doesn’t produce energy. It converts mechanical energy to electrical energy.

  4. Nat says:

    Where can I find these piezoelectric generators? Has anyone tried to charge a cellphone using these generators?

  5. Mark says:

    Yes, it is feasible to implement this piezoelectric technology on roads. For further information you can inbox me.

  6. apoorvaa vishwanath says:

    these crystals can be used on footpaths and road to generate electricity by the moving cars and people and can be used to light street lights and atm’s.

  7. Pankaj says:

    How to store peozoelectricity ?

  8. Tom says:

    Hi Mark, I was just wondering if you would be able to provide me with more information about implementing piezoelectric technology on roads and footpaths as I am currently doing a feasibility report on it. tgh23@uclive.ac.nz
    Cheers!

  9. Gurveer says:

    IS it possible that a piezoelectric transducer can produce 10 KWatt of energy??
    Can a piezoelectric transducer works when a constant pressure is given to it???

  10. Teeven29 says:

    Hello guys…
    Can somebody tell me a ‘piezoelectric generator’ which I can use for a heavy duty purpose (Forces up to 23kN)?
    Any help will be greatly appreciated :)

  11. Charlie says:

    Hi Mark (or Tom),

    Would you also be able to forward the information you sent to Tom to me please? I’m doing a feasibility study too. Any information on small scale uses (watches, shoes etc.) would be great too

    Cheers

  12. T.VIGNESH says:

    what is the voltage that can be produced by a piezoelectric generator?and what is the minimum frequency necessary to generate voltage by piezoelectric generator???

  13. mark says:

    can you connect piezoelectric generator in series to obtain higher voltage?.. cn soomeone answer me pls…

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