Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Arnold Lumsdaine

Committee Members

J.A.M.Boulet, Richard Bennett


Basic research in smart materials and structural systems has demonstrated great potential for enhancing the functionality, serviceability and durability of civil and mechanical infrastructure systems. These smart materials (like piezoelectric materials) can be used as mechanisms to transfer mechanical energy, usually ambient vibration, into electrical energy that can be stored and used to power other devices. The intelligent renewal of aging and deteriorating civil and mechanical infrastructure systems includes efficient and innovative use of high performance sensors, actuators, and structural systems. In this work, a computational model is developed to generate power from the ambient vibration of a single span simply supported bridge (civil structure) due to a moving load, using PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride) as a piezoelectric material for energy harvesting. A commercially available finite element software ABAQUS is used for analysis. The structure is analyzed using 2-dimensional 8-noded quadratic elements. Also, the concept of application of moving load in a finite element code has been well defined and is compared with the mathematical model of a simply supported beam subjected to a moving constant force developed by Fryba (1970). The method of integral transformations is used to derive the displacement equation.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."