In order to extract as much energy as possible from ambient vibrations, many vibration-based energy harvesters (VEHs) are designed to resonate at a specific base excitation frequency. Unfortunately, many vibration energy sources are low frequency (0.5 Hz–100 Hz), intermittent, and broadband. Thus, resonant VEHs would not be excited continuously and would require a large mass or size to tune to such a low frequency. This work presents the modeling, analysis, and experimental application of a nonlinear, magnetically excited energy harvester that exhibits efficient broadband, frequency-independent performance. This design utilizes a passive auxiliary structure that remains stationary relative to the base motion of the VEH. This device is especially effective for driving frequencies well below its fundamental frequency, thus enabling a more compact design compared to traditional resonant topologies. A mechanical model based on Euler-Bernoulli beam theory is coupled to a linear circuit and a model of the nonlinear, magnetic interaction to produce a distributed parameter magneto-electromechanical system. The results of both harmonic and broadband, stochastic simulations demonstrate multiple-order-of-magnitude power harvesting performance improvement at low driving frequencies and an insensitivity to time-varying base excitation frequency content. Furthermore, the proposed system is shown to enable more practical designs than a resonant energy harvester for the specific example of harvesting energy from walking motion.

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