Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Packaging Science

Committee Member

Dr. Gregory S. Batt, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Duncan O. Darby

Committee Member

Dr. James M. Gibert

Abstract

Smart packaging technology is growing every year, complemented by the development of micro-electronic devices. These two trends in innovation create unique capabilities for monitoring and tracking packaged products in transit. Developing in tandem with this momentum of invention and micro-scaling of technology is the need for innovative ways to power these devices. This paper details a novel system that harvests energy from the vibration inherent in the transportation of packaged products, stores it, and uses it to power sensors that measure the very same environment from which the energy is harvested. Also accomplished in this research is the exploration of the physical and electrical durability of the energy harvester, as well as its sensitivity to environmental relative humidity. A triboelectric energy harvester converts mechanical energy to electrical energy, which is then collected and used to charge a rechargeable energy cell. This energy cell may then be used to power small electronic devices for a myriad of applications, such as temperature and humidity sensors, accelerometers, or GPS tracking devices. This energy harvester is constructed in the form of a tier sheet to be used within a unit load, replacing a corrugate sheet with a device that achieves the same purpose, while enabling power generation. This research details a unique use of the triboelectric energy harvesting method in its application in packaged product distribution, as well as conditions, such as physical durability of the harvester and humidity of its immediate environment. The triboelectric energy harvester developed is experimentally validated for use in generating power sufficient to charge a coin cell battery capable of powering various field data recorders, the requirements of which are detailed in this manuscript.

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