Energy harvesting for actuators and sensors using free-floating flaps

Lars O. Bernhammer*, Roeland De Breuker, Moti Karpel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


A novel configuration of an energy harvester for local actuation and sensing devices using limit cycle oscillations has been modeled, designed and tested. A wing section has been designed with two trailing-edge free-floating flaps. A free-floating flap is a flap that can freely rotate around a hinge axis and is driven by trailing edge tabs. In the rotational axis of each flap a generator is mounted that converts the vibrational energy into electricity. It has been demonstrated numerically how a simple electronic system can be used to keep such a system at stable limit cycle oscillations by varying the resistance in the electric circuit. Additionally, it was shown that the stability of the system is coupled to the charge level of the battery, with increasing charge level leading to a less stable system. The system has been manufactured and tested in the Open Jet Wind Tunnel Facility of the Technical University Delft. The numerical results could be validated successfully and voltage generation could be demonstrated at cost of a decrease in lift of 2%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-177
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Electromagnetic energy harvesting
  • flutter
  • free-floating flap
  • limit cycle oscillations


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