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Sensors 2018, 18(6), 1859;

Coupling of PZT Thin Films with Bimetallic Strip Heat Engines for Thermal Energy Harvesting

STMicroelectronics (Crolles 2) SAS, 850 Rue Jean Monnet, 38926 Crolles CEDEX, France
Univ Lyon, INSA-Lyon, LGEF, EA682, F-69621 Villeurbanne, France
CEA Liten, 17 Rue des Martyrs, 38054 Grenoble CEDEX 9, France
Université Bretagne Loire, Université de Nantes, IETR UMR CNRS 6164, 44322 Nantes, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 February 2018 / Revised: 21 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Piezoelectric Micro- and Nano-Devices)
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A thermal energy harvester based on a double transduction mechanism and which converts thermal energy into electrical energy by means of piezoelectric membranes and bimetals, has previously been developed and widely presented in the literature In such a device, the thermo-mechanical conversion is ensured by a bimetal whereas the electro-mechanical conversion is generated by a piezoelectric ceramic. However, it has been shown that only 19% of the mechanical energy delivered by the bimetal during its snap is converted into electrical energy. To extract more energy from the bimetallic strip and to increase the transduction efficiency, a new way to couple piezoelectric materials with bimetals has thus been explored through direct deposition of piezoelectric layers on bimetals. This paper consequently presents an alternative way to harvest heat, based on piezoelectric bimetallic strip heat engines and presents a proof of concept of such a system. In this light, different PZT (Lead zirconate titanate) thin films were synthesized directly on aluminium foils and were attached to the bimetals using conductive epoxy. The fabrication process of each sample is presented herein as well as the experimental tests carried out on the devices. Throughout this study, different thicknesses of the piezoelectric layers and substrates were tested to determine the most powerful configuration. Finally, the study also gives some guidelines for future improvements of piezoelectric bimetals. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy harvesting; bimetallic strip; heat engine; PZT thin films energy harvesting; bimetallic strip; heat engine; PZT thin films

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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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Boughaleb, J.; Arnaud, A.; Guiffard, B.; Guyomar, D.; Seveno, R.; Monfray, S.; Skotnicki, T.; Cottinet, P.-J. Coupling of PZT Thin Films with Bimetallic Strip Heat Engines for Thermal Energy Harvesting. Sensors 2018, 18, 1859.

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