Piezoelectric vibration-based energy harvesting (pVEH) offers much potential as renewable energy structures. Within the literature, often geometry-specific models are developed, making designs of new structures difficult. In this work, a generalized linear algebraic method is developed. The method incorporates the transfer matrix method (TMM) into the well-accepted distributed parameter electromechanical model for a composite-piezoelectric, Euler–Bernoulli beam. The result is an electromechanical TMM which is highly accurate at predicting both structural and energy harvesting performances for a wide variety of designs which have chainlike topologies. A simplification is made within the method to model structures which operate solely within bending modes, reducing the computation to analyses of only four-by-four state transition matrices, regardless of structural complexity. As many applications aim to optimize the large bending mode piezoelectric effect, this simplification does not limit the versatility of the method. To demonstrate the validity of this statement, comparisons were performed to evaluate the accuracy of the method's predictions for six piezoelectric topologies, including a unimorph without a tip mass, a bimorph with a tip mass, several partial-length bimorphs without a tip mass, and three different multibeam bimorph structures with inline and folded-back designs. The results show differences no greater than 2.24% for the first and second natural frequencies of the structures. Likewise, the method yields excellent predictions for the mode shapes, their slopes, and the voltage frequency responses, especially within the ±10% bounds of the natural frequencies. Thus, the future design of new structures is shown to be simplified using this generalizable method.

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