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A Raindrop Harvester

Project Advisor
Professor Sunny Jung -

Project Area/Concentration
Sustainable engineering, Bio-fluid mechanics

Project Description
The dynamics of drop impact on soft surfaces has drawn a lot of attention for its application, and an analogous natural example is when a raindrop impacts on a leaf. In nature, a leaf deforms and vibrates a lot when a drop impacts at high speeds (2~10 m/s).

Our group aims to develop and explore engineering devices inspired by (1) a natural system in which an elastic leaf interacts with an impacting raindrop. Pedagogically, this study will enable us to understand the fundamental mechanism of how an impulsive fluid drop couples with and drives a beam’s bending. Here, we suggest three innovative suitably engineered systems inspired by natural mechanism of elastic beams coupled with fluid drops. An underlying strategy is to use a piezo-electric material for the elastic beam, and then an electric output is recorded and stored due to mechanical vibrations subject to drop impact. This leads to (2) an innovative energy-harvesting device from raindrops. Moreover, by measuring and analyzing the electric signal, we can infer the size, speed, and other hydrodynamic properties of impacting drops or jets.

Natural drop-leaf system and raindrop energy-harvester.

Possible Courses

Course number Course title
BEE 3310 Bio-Fluid Mechanics
BEE 4500 Bioinstrumentation
BEE 4570 Biorobotics
MAE 4272 Fluids/Heat Transfer Laboratory
MAE 4650 Biofluid Mechanics
MAE 4651 Biofluid Mechanics
MAE 5230 Intermediate Fluid Dynamics with CFD
MAE 5650 Biofluid Mechanics
MAE 6270 Experimental Methods in Fluid Dynamics