Research Papers

Analysis of a Planar Tensegrity Mechanism for Ocean Wave Energy Harvesting

[+] Author and Article Information
Rafael E. Vasquez

Grupo de Automática y Diseño A+D,
Escuela de Ingenierías,
Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana,
Circular 1 No. 70–01,
Medellín, Colombia
e-mail: rafael.vasquez@upb.edu.co

Carl D. Crane,, III

Fellow ASME
Department of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering,
University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32611
e-mail: carl.crane@gmail.com

Julio C. Correa

Grupo de Automática y Diseño A+D,
Escuela de Ingenierías,
Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana,
Circular 1 No. 70–01,
Medellín, Colombia
e-mail: julio.correa@upb.edu.co

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received October 21, 2013; final manuscript received March 29, 2014; published online June 17, 2014. Assoc. Editor: J. M. Selig.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 6(3), 031015 (Jun 17, 2014) (12 pages) Paper No: JMR-13-1214; doi: 10.1115/1.4027703 History: Received October 21, 2013; Revised March 29, 2014

Tensegrity systems have been used in several disciplines such as architecture, biology, aerospace, mechanics, and robotics during the last 50 years. However, just a few references in literature have stated the possibility of using such systems in ocean or energy-related applications. This work addresses the kinematic and dynamic analyses of a planar tensegrity mechanism for ocean wave energy harvesting. Ocean wave mechanics and the most important concepts related to fluid–structure interaction are presented. Then, a planar 3 degrees of freedom (3-dof) tensegrity mechanism, based on a morphology defined by Kenneth Snelson in 1960 which is known as “X-frame,” is proposed as connecting linkage to transmit wave-generated forces. A geometric approach is used to solve the forward and reverse displacement problems. The theory of screws is used to perform the forward and reverse velocity analyses of the device. The Lagrangian approach is used to deduce the equations of motion considering the interaction between the mechanism and ocean waves. The tensegrity-based mechanism is analyzed using a linear model of ocean waves and its energy harvesting capabilities are compared to a purely heaving device. Results show that the proposed tensegrity configuration allows to harvest 10% more energy than the traditional heaving mechanism used in several wave energy harvesting applications. Therefore, tensegrity systems could play an important role in the expansion of clean energy technologies that help the world's sustainable development.

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Fig. 1

Notation for the linear wave analysis [49]

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Fig. 2

Particle paths predicted by Airy's linear wave theory [49]. (a) Deep water; (b) intermediate water; and (c) shallow water.

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Fig. 3

Example of water particles motion

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Fig. 4

Floating bodies [53]. (a) Purely heaving float and (b) purely pitching float.

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Fig. 5

Floating bodies [53]. (a) Pure heaving condition and (b) pure pitching condition.

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Fig. 6

Concept of a wave energy harvester based on tensegrity systems. (a) Snelson's X-frame [27] and (b) tensegrity energy harvester.

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Fig. 7

Kinematic diagram of the mechanism. (a) Joint axes and (b) vector diagram.

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Fig. 8

Purely heaving system: wave-induced force

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Fig. 9

Purely heaving system: motion

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Fig. 10

Purely heaving system: instant dissipated power

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Fig. 11

Tensegrity system: wave-induced forces

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Fig. 12

Tensegrity system: motion. (a) Surge, (b) heave, and (c) pitch.

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Fig. 13

Tensegrity system: instant dissipated power

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Fig. 14

Motion of generators (a) and motion of springs (b)

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Fig. 15

Variation of power dissipation with base length and stiffness of elastic ties




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