Energy harvesting study on single and multilayer ferroelectret foams under compressive force

Zhenhua Luo, Dibin Zhu, Junjie Shi, Steve Beeby, Chunhong Zhang, Plamen Proynov, Bernard Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Cellular polypropylene (PP) ferroelectret is a thin and flexible cellular polymer foam that generates electrical power under mechanical force. This work investigates single and multilayer ferroelectret PP foams and their potential to supply energy for human-body-worn sensors. Human foot-fall is emulated using an electrodynamic instrument, allowing applied compressive force and momentum to be correlated with energy output. Peak power, output pulse duration, and energy per strike is derived experimentally as a function of force and momentum, and shown to be a strong function of external load resistance, thus providing a clear maximum energy point. The possibility of increasing pulse time and reducing voltage to CMOS compatible levels at some expense of peak power is shown. To further increase the output power, multilayer ferroelectret is presented. The synchronized power generation of each layer is studied and illustrated using simulation, and results are supported by experiments. Finally, the energy output of single-layer and multi-layer ferroelectrets are compared by charging a capacitor via a rectifier. A ten-layer ferroelectret is shown to have charging ability 29.1 times better than that of the single-layer ferroelectret. It demonstrates energy output that is capable of powering the start-up and transmission of a typical low-power wireless sensor chipset.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7116323
Pages (from-to)1360-1368
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Compressive force
  • Energy harvesting
  • Ferroelectret
  • Multilayer
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Single layer


Dive into the research topics of 'Energy harvesting study on single and multilayer ferroelectret foams under compressive force'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this