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Open AccessArticle

Energy Neutral Wireless Bolt for Safety Critical Fastening

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, Via Sommarive, 9, 38123 Trento, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2017, 17(10), 2211;
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 9 September 2017 / Accepted: 22 September 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Harvesting Sensors for Long Term Applications in the IoT Era)
PDF [5263 KB, uploaded 26 September 2017]


Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are now capable of powering the abundant low power electronics from very small (just a few degrees Celsius) temperature gradients. This factor along with the continuously lowering cost and size of TEGs, has contributed to the growing number of miniaturized battery-free sensor modules powered by TEGs. In this article, we present the design of an ambient-powered wireless bolt for high-end electro-mechanical systems. The bolt is equipped with a temperature sensor and a low power RF chip powered from a TEG. A DC-DC converter interfacing the TEG with the RF chip is used to step-up the low TEG voltage. The work includes the characterizations of different TEGs and DC-DC converters to determine the optimal design based on the amount of power that can be generated from a TEG under different loads and at temperature gradients typical of industrial environments. A prototype system was implemented and the power consumption of this system under different conditions was also measured. Results demonstrate that the power generated by the TEG at very low temperature gradients is sufficient to guarantee continuous wireless monitoring of the critical fasteners in critical systems such as avionics, motorsport and aerospace. View Full-Text
Keywords: smart bolt; TEG; Peltier; IoT; energy harvesting smart bolt; TEG; Peltier; IoT; energy harvesting

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Seyoum, B.B.; Rossi, M.; Brunelli, D. Energy Neutral Wireless Bolt for Safety Critical Fastening. Sensors 2017, 17, 2211.

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