Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting in Airport Pavement

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-NC17

Fiscal Year: 2014/2015

Status: In Progress

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Hao Wang, Ph.D., Ahmad Safari, Ph.D., Patrick Szary, Ph.D.

External Author(s): Navneet Garg

Sponsor(s): USDOT-FHWA, FAA


Harvesting energy from pavements by piezoelectricity is a new research field with opportunities and challenges. Although the harvested energy could be at small-scale, it can be used for a wide range of applications in transportation system such as lighting, snow melting, and traffic signal control in addition to direct energy storage. This research will focus on developing new design of piezoelectric transducer for improved energy harvesting efficiency in airfield pavements. New configuration of sensor geometry using ceramic/polymer composite will be investigated using laboratory testing and theoretical analysis. The energy conversion efficiency, fatigue life, and integrity with pavement material will be considered in sensor development. The effect of pavement characteristics (layer material and stiffness) on energy harvesting potential will be evaluated. Numerical models for simulating energy harvesting performance in pavements under dynamic multi-wheel loading will be developed. The simulation results will be used for optimizing placement of sensor arrays in pavements to maximize the amount of total energy harvested. The research outcome will lead to development of smart pavements with multifunction and eventually generate renewable electrical energy from waste energy.