Interplay between phononic bandgaps and piezoelectric microstructures for energy harvesting

Stefano Gonella, Albert C. To, Wing Kam Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


The paper introduces a multifunctional structural design combining superior mechanical wave filtering properties and energy harvesting capabilities. The proposed concept is based on the ability of most periodic structures to forbid elastic waves from propagating within specific frequency ranges known as phononic bandgaps. The bandgap density and the resulting filtering effect are dramatically enhanced through the introduction of a microstructure consisting of stiff inclusions which resonate at specific frequencies and produce significant strain and energy localization. Energy harvesting is achieved as a result of the conversion of the localized kinetic energy into electrical energy through the piezoelectric effect featured by the material in the microstructure. The idea is illustrated through the application to hexagonal truss-core honeycombs featuring periodically distributed stiff cantilever beams provided with piezoelectric electrodes. The multifunctional capability results from the localized oscillatory phenomena exhibited by the cantilevers for excitations falling in the neighborhood of the bending fundamental frequencies of the beams. This application is of particular interest for advanced aerospace and mechanical engineering applications where distinct capabilities are simultaneously pursued and weight containment represents a critical design constraint. The scalability of the analysis suggests the possibility to miniaturize the design to the microscale for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) applications such as self-powered microsystems and wireless sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-633
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Energy harvesting
  • Microstructure
  • Phononic bandgaps
  • Piezoelectric effect
  • Vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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