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On the influence of time-dependent behaviour of elastomeric wave energy harvesting membranes using experimental and numerical modelling techniques
European Journal of Mechanics - A/Solids, Volume: 98, Start page: 104895
Swansea University Authors: Ieuan Collins, Ian Masters , Mokarram Hossain
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DOI (Published version): 10.1016/j.euromechsol.2022.104895
The transient response of elastomeric polymers is dependent on polymer composition, temperature and the loading history. In particular, hysteresis, dissipation and creep are significant in the choice of material for elastomer membrane wave energy converters. Natural rubber is a good candidate when l...
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The transient response of elastomeric polymers is dependent on polymer composition, temperature and the loading history. In particular, hysteresis, dissipation and creep are significant in the choice of material for elastomer membrane wave energy converters. Natural rubber is a good candidate when looking for material for a wave energy harvester since it has an excellent stretchability, is almost resistant to the environment in which the harvester will be used and has good fatigue properties. The mechanical behaviour of the natural rubber used in this work has been deeply characterised: the material resulted to have a very little hysteretical behaviour (that is a very low energy dissipation during stretching) but also to show a strain-dependency, stress softening, and relaxation at constant stretch. Low dissipation represents the best case scenario for energy harvesting; in reality reinforcement of the material is required which adds to the dissipative behaviour. Afterwards, an extended finite strain viscoelastic constitutive model is proposed that is calibrated analytically to the experimental data to identify the relevant material parameters resulting in non-linear viscosity functions in the evolution equations of the constitutive model. The model was able to capture the minimal dissipation behaviour with good degrees of accuracy. Results are shown for a flexible membrane wave energy converter under creep and cyclic loading. A parametric study is made comparing the experimentally characterised polymer with different amounts of viscous dissipation. The response of the wave energy converter shows that even minimal amounts of dissipation manifests itself into changes in the pressure–volume function and reduction in energy capture through hysteresis. The new material model shows, for the first time, that the control of internal pressure in wave energy membranes must take into account transient material effects.
Natural rubbers; Material characterisation; Non-linear evolution equation; Finite strain viscoelasticity; Finite element modelling; Flexible wave energy converter (FlexWEC)
Faculty of Science and Engineering