Energetic optimization of a piezo-based touch-operated button for man–machine interfaces

Hao Sun, Theo J.A. de Vries (Editor), Rene de Vries, Harry van Dalen

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    1 Citation (Scopus)
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    This paper discusses the optimization of a touch-operated button for man–machine interfaces based on piezoelectric energy harvesting techniques. In the mechanical button, a common piezoelectric diaphragm, is assembled to harvest the ambient energy from the source, i.e. the operator’s touch. Under touch force load, the integrated diaphragm will have a bending deformation. Then, its mechanical strain is converted into the required electrical energy by means of the piezoelectric effect presented to the diaphragm. Structural design (i) makes the piezoceramic work under static compressive stress instead of static or dynamic tensile stress, (ii) achieves a satisfactory stress level and (iii) provides the diaphragm and the button with a fatigue lifetime in excess of millions of touch operations. To improve the button’s function, the effect of some key properties consisting of dimension, boundary condition and load condition on electrical behavior of the piezoelectric diaphragm are evaluated by electromechanical coupling analysis in ANSYS. The finite element analysis (FEA) results indicate that the modification of these properties could enhance the diaphragm significantly. Based on the key properties’ different contributions to the improvement of the diaphragm’s electrical energy output, they are incorporated into the piezoelectric diaphragm’s redesign or the structural design of the piezo-based button. The comparison of the original structure and the optimal result shows that electrical energy stored in the diaphragm and the voltage output are increased by 1576% and 120%, respectively, and the volume of the piezoceramic is reduced to 33.6%. These results will be adopted to update the design of the self-powered button, thus enabling a large decrease of energy consumption and lifetime cost of the MMI.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number035026
    Number of pages8
    JournalSmart Materials and Structures
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


    • Piezoelectric energy harvesting
    • Boundary condition
    • Man machine interface (MMI)
    • Touch-operated
    • Load condition


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