In recent years, the development of small and low power electronics has led to the deployment of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) that are largely used in military and civil applications. Vibrational energy harvesting can be used to power these sensors in order to obviate the costs of battery replacement. Vibrational energy harvesters (VEHs) are devices that convert the kinetic energy present in the ambient into electrical energy using three principal transduction mechanisms: piezoelectric, electromagnetic or electrostatic. The investigation presented in this paper specifically aims to realize a device that converts vibrations from different ambient sources to electrical energy for powering autonomous wireless sensors. A “C-battery” scale (25.5 mm diameter by 57.45 mm long, 29.340 cm3) two Degree-of-Freedom (2-DoF) nonlinear electromagnetic energy harvester, which employs velocity amplification, is presented in this paper. Velocity amplification is achieved through sequential collisions between two free-moving masses, a primary (larger) and a secondary (smaller) mass. The nonlinearities are due to the use of multiple masses and the use of magnetic springs between the primary mass and the housing, and between the primary and secondary masses. Part A of this paper presents a detailed experimental characterization of the system dynamics, while Part B describes the design and verification of the magnet/coil interaction for optimum prototype power output. The harvester is characterized experimentally under sinusoidal excitation for different geometrical configurations and also under the excitation of an air-compressor. The maximum output power generated under sinusoidal excitation of arms = 0.4 g is 1.74 mW across a resistive load of 9975 Ω, while the output rms voltage is 4.2 V. Under the excitation of the compressor, the maximum peak power across a load resistance of 8660 Ω is 1.37 mW, while the average power is 85.5 μW.

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