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Sensors 2013, 13(9), 12113-12131; doi:10.3390/s130912113

Improving Pyroelectric Energy Harvesting Using a Sandblast Etching Technique

*  and
Department of Mechanical Design Engineering, National Formosa University, No. 64, Wunhua Rd., Huwei Township, Yunlin County 632, Taiwan,
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 July 2013 / Revised: 5 August 2013 / Accepted: 26 August 2013 / Published: 10 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Large amounts of low-grade heat are emitted by various industries and exhausted into the environment. This heat energy can be used as a free source for pyroelectric power generation. A three-dimensional pattern helps to improve the temperature variation rates in pyroelectric elements by means of lateral temperature gradients induced on the sidewalls of the responsive elements. A novel method using sandblast etching is successfully applied in fabricating the complex pattern of a vortex-like electrode. Both experiment and simulation show that the proposed design of the vortex-like electrode improved the electrical output of the pyroelectric cells and enhanced the efficiency of pyroelectric harvesting converters. A three-dimensional finite element model is generated by commercial software for solving the transient temperature fields and exploring the temperature variation rate in the PZT pyroelectric cells with various designs. The vortex-like type has a larger temperature variation rate than the fully covered type, by about 53.9%.The measured electrical output of the vortex-like electrode exhibits an obvious increase in the generated charge and the measured current, as compared to the fully covered electrode, by of about 47.1% and 53.1%, respectively.
Keywords: pyroelectricity; thermal energy; temperature variation rate; sandblast etching; energy harvesting pyroelectricity; thermal energy; temperature variation rate; sandblast etching; energy harvesting
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Hsiao, C.-C.; Siao, A.-S. Improving Pyroelectric Energy Harvesting Using a Sandblast Etching Technique. Sensors 2013, 13, 12113-12131.

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