Acoustic power delivery to pipeline monitoring wireless sensors
The use of energy harvesting for powering wireless sensors is made more challenging in most applications by the requirement for customization to each specific application environment because of specificities of the available energy form, such as precise location, direction and motion frequency, as well as the temporal variation and unpredictability of the energy source. Wireless power transfer from dedicated sources can overcome these difficulties, and in this work, the use of targeted ultrasonic power transfer as a possible method for remote powering of sensor nodes is investigated. A powering system for pipeline monitoring sensors is described and studied experimentally, with a pair of identical, non-inertial piezoelectric transducers used at the transmitter and receiver. Power transmission of 18 mW (Root-Mean-Square) through 1 m of a 118 mm diameter cast iron pipe, with 8 mm wall thickness is demonstrated. By analysis of the delay between transmission and reception, including reflections from the pipeline edges, a transmission speed of 1000 m/s is observed, corresponding to the phase velocity of the L(0,1) axial and F(1,1) radial modes of the pipe structure. A reduction of power delivery with water-filling is observed, yet over 4 mW of delivered power through a fully-filled pipe is demonstrated. The transmitted power and voltage levels exceed the requirements for efficient power management, including rectification at cold-starting conditions, and for the operation of low-power sensor nodes. The proposed powering technique may allow the implementation of energy autonomous wireless sensor systems for monitoring industrial and network pipeline infrastructure.