Experimental study on using electromagnetic devices on bridge stay cables for simultaneous energy harvesting and vibration damping

Wenai Shen, Songye Zhu, Hongping Zhu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


� 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd. Flexible bridge stay cables are often vulnerable to problematic vibrations under dynamic excitations. However, from an energy perspective, such excessive vibrations denote a green and sustainable energy source to some electronic devices (such as semi-active dampers or wireless sensors) installed on the same cables. This paper presents an experimental study on a novel dual-function system called electromagnetic damper cum energy harvester (EMDEH). The proposed EMDEH, consisting of an electromagnetic device connected to an energy-harvesting circuit (EHC), simultaneously harvests cable vibration energy and provides sufficient damping to the cables. A fixed-duty-cycle buck-boost converter is employed as the EHC, which emulates a resistive load and provides approximately optimal damping and optimal energy harvesting efficiency when operating in discontinuous conduction mode. A 5.85 m long scaled stay cable installed with a prototype EMDEH is tested in the laboratory under a series of harmonic and random excitations. The EMDEH can achieve a control performance comparable to passive viscous dampers. An average electrical power of 31.6 and 21.51 mW is harvested under harmonic and random vibrations, respectively, corresponding to the efficiency of 16.9% and 13.8%, respectively. Moreover, this experimental study proves that optimal damping and energy harvesting can be achieved simultaneously, which answers a pending question regarding such a dual-objective optimization problem. Self-powered semi-active control systems or wireless sensor networks may be developed for bridge stay cables in the future based on the proposed concept in this study.
Original languageEnglish
Article number065011
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2016


  • electromagnetic damper
  • stay cable
  • vibration energy harvesting
  • vibration mitigation
  • vibration test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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