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Cornell Students Harnessing Wind Vibrations to Produce Free Electricity


A group of undergraduate students at Cornell University has conceived a device that can harness wind-induced vibrations into electricity through the piezoelectric effect. The Vibro-Wind Research Group is led by Frank Moon, Joseph Ford Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Because classic wind turbines are often rejected by the communities who live close to them for aesthetic reasons, the possibility of introducing a silent vibrational wind turbine on rooftops is pretty high, as Rona Banai, a chemical engineering major and chief student engineer of the group, suggests.

The team’s first prototype that they set up on the top of Rhodes Hall, in Atlanta, was actually a panel mounted with oscillators made out of pieces of foam.

The energy had been collected through the use of a device called “piezoelectric transducer,” which is made either of ceramic or polymer material. Piezoelectricity is the emission of electrons that happens when a certain material is exposed to mechanical stress.

Rona Banai has also experimented how an electromagnetic coil worked instead of the piezoelectric transducer and she’ll write a report on her findings.

“We are taking research that’s been in progress, and we are trying to extend it into a new type of energy harvesting,” said Moon about their work, imagining lots of possible applications that range from battle field use to various sensors juiced by the power of vibrations.

[via cornell/inhabitat]



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