Design of a self-tunable, variable-length pendulum for harvesting energy from rotational motion

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering Department

Find in your Library


Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Vibroengineering

Publication Date





© 2020 Suzzan Abbas Hassan, et al. In this paper, a self-tunable energy harvester based on pendulum oscillations with a mechanical motion rectifier (MMR) system, which can convert vibration into electrical energy, is proposed. The harvester is composed of a pendulum excited by a slider-crank mechanism. The pendulum system is designed to automatically adjust its own natural frequency to match that of the imposed base excitation. Frequency adjustment in a proposed pendulum-type energy harvester is achieved by varying the length of the pendulum rod through changing the position of pendulum mass which mounted at its tip. The pendulum mass is driven by a ball screw through a stepper motor which controls the length of the pendulum automatically in accordance with the frequency of the external motion. The base motion frequency is detected by an infrared sensor. An ultrasonic distance sensor is used to detect the length of the pendulum rod and feeds this information to a microcontroller to obtain the corresponding natural frequency from a lookup table. The microcontroller calculates the frequency difference between natural frequency and excitation frequency and converts this value into a length difference through another lookup table. The microcontroller then gives instructions to drive a stepper motor through a sequence of steps to achieve the target length and keeps the device in resonance state to harvest maximum power during operation. Different time detection intervals were studied to investigate their effect on the tuning process. This study showed that the longer time intervals increase the detection accuracy for the calculation of low excitation frequency. The amount of energy consumed during the tuning process to adjust the pendulum length is presented. In this context, the consumed energy is only needed until the resonance of the device matches the excitation frequency. The harvester system was studied numerically and experimentally. Based on the findings of this work, the natural frequency of the harvester is successfully tuned below 0.7 Hz, when the length of pendulum rod is changed from 550 mm to 900 mm, generating power from 1.78 W to 4.1 W at an optimal load resistance value of 10 Ω and 3 Ω respectively at maximum excitation amplitude of 120 mm. Therefore, the proposed pendulum system can be used as an efficient harvester for producing power in low-frequency applications (< 1 Hz).

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.