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Can piezoelectricity become an alternative source of power?

I have been experimenting with piezoelectricity, mainly with a quartz crystal, and it seems to me like a viable source of power. While piezoelectricity is nothing new.. why is it not used enough? Also, is there a limit on the number of times I can tap on the quartz crystal before it stops generating the electric field?

Edit: Is the voltage generated a function of the size of the crystal?

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level 1

I've thought a little about this as well...made a shitty concept drawing for a belt with piezoelectric beams running through it, so that the momentum of the body throughout the day would generate enough charge to power a rechargeable battery, or mp3 player, etc...

Not sure how viable it actually is, but it's certainly fun to think about.

level 2
Original Poster1 point · 8 years ago · edited 8 years ago

my attempts tell me, you can generate anywhere from 5-10 mV. So it should be possible to charge a battery. The weighted beams is a cool idea, though I wonder if people would have a gait to generate useful voltage.

level 2

What the hell are you talking about

shitty concept drawing

the drawing looks great. Form and function of the concept was immediately understood. What more can you ask from a concept drawing?

I can tell you that in the past - this never worked due to energy transfer and storage problems. What has changed now and will make this commercial is nano technology. Lets take your belt idea, now make a million of those vibrating bars in less than a square inch of surface area. (Just like the mirrors on a DLP chip - for those who know the discipline) What you have is a MEMS device (Micro Electr Mechanical Systems) or NEMS (Nano Electro mechanical Systems) depending on the size of the components. Miniaturization will improve density (or energy generation) and scale (having a million of them) will solve the current problem. I know for sure both DARPA and Australian army are working on concepts in the form of military jackets. I tried searching but couldnt find them. But they exist :)

level 1

You can generate a lot more than a few mV. Piezoelectric sparkers, like from lighters and bbqs, are often over 10kV. The problem is a lack of significant current, plus you need a significant input in order to get a discharge.

level 2
Original Poster1 point · 8 years ago

for 10kV it would need to be hit quite hard.. I am afraid it might crack

level 3

Think of the gap that a lighter sparker is capable of crossing, they produce 10kV easily. I'm not sure how easy it is to do it by just hitting a crystal though, but the contained system of a sparker does it, no problem.

level 3

The problem is one of current, indeed. For low-power concentration solutions, piezoelectric systems should be rather viable.

But they're certainly not going to supplant major energy production centers.

As to the limit on how many times you can tap them; erosion. Also; the electrical-out is always less than the mechanical-in.

level 1
1 point · 8 years ago · edited 8 years ago

I was listening to CBC's Spark a while ago, and they mentioned a club which has lights and AC powered by piezoelectricity generated from the movement of the dancers on the floor. It sounded really cool, but I can't find the link. Can anyone confirm?

level 2
level 2

I believe it was was called Club Energy. I couldn't find a link either, though.

level 1

Two major obstacles for piezo power generation are Curie point temperature limitations and the high voltage, high impedance, high frequency output.

level 1

it is like you have nothing to drink, except ONE rain drop ... for the day. keep on dreaming

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