Mohammed Daqaq, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson University, received the C.D. Mote Jr. award for his research on developing “energy harvesters,” a new technology that could play a key role in helping monitor bridges for cracks and other signs of strain.
The energy harvesters would channel vibrations to small sensors that are embedded throughout bridges, buildings and other structures. The sensors would provide a continuous stream of data that would report on the “health” of the structure, according to a release.
Daqaq said the energy harvesters would provide an environmentally sustainable way of powering the sensors with no need for a battery or plugging into some other energy source for decades.
“These vibratory or flow-energy harvesters operate well within very small bandwidth frequencies that are in the environment,” Daqaq said. “But the energy in that environment is distributed over a wide range of frequencies. What we want to do is make that harvester respond to excitations and stimuli that have a very wide frequency bandwidth, not only a very small bandwidth.”