Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

12-2011

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical and Biomechanical Engineering

Major Advisor

Donald G Plumlee, Ph.D.

Abstract

For a soldier deployed in a remote location on the earth or a recreational hiker in the wilderness or a wild land firefighter battling a destructive wildfire, access to a power source is problematic. Local and regional communication systems, navigation, lights, imaging: all of these require a power source. For short time periods, batteries may be sufficient but with extended time periods the weight of the batteries and cost of replacement becomes a problem. Energy scavenging devices could fill this need and be used as a secondary power source when solar or batteries are not available.

A linear electromagnetic generator is designed and prototyped for use in a frame backpack configuration. A base excitation vibration model is developed to predict the available energy from the movement of a person walking while wearing a backpack. The energy scavenging device takes the ambient movement of the person walking and converts it to usable energy. The electromagnetic generator does not affect how the person walks and will decrease the weight carried by a soldier or backpacker by replacing batteries. An analytic model of the mechanical and magnetic systems is developed to determine and optimize for the design parameters of the electromagnetic generator. The induction coils for the electromagnetic generator were fabricated in Low Temperature Co-Fired Ceramics (LTCC), taking advantage of the material system to produce a small high density package of coils.

LTCC induction coils were found to be a viable way of scavenging energy. It was determined that the electromagnetic generator has the potential for producing the required energy need by a soldier or backpacker. Future work includes testing of the induction coils, and designing the frame of the backpack and energy storage of the electromagnetic generator.

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