Blogpost #4: Reflect and Share

Final Product: Flashlight powered by our hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details

Thermoelectric generator -Handle

 

Piezo-button
An aisle for cold air
Rechargeable battery powered by a thermal and piezo generator

 

Video

 

How it works

: The main idea here is the concept of the thermoelectric generator and piezoelectric generator. The thermoelectric generator produces the energy by the difference of temperature. If one side is heated and another side is cooled, it generates the energy. That’s why I made a flashlight design with an empty aisle inside a pipe: the cold air comes inside the pipe and cools the cooper attached at one side of the thermoelectric generator, which increases the temperature difference between the side cooled by cold air and another side cooled by thermal of hand. This phenomenon is called the Seebeck Effect. Also, the piezoelectric disc generates the energy as it gets the pressure. Therefore, whenever a user presses the piezo button, the energy is produced. By adding the spring and foam as a soft button on the piezoelectric disc, I enable the user to press the button comfortably with less force than they press only the piezoelectric disc. 

These two types of energy generators are a typical example of nanogenerator.

 

Explanation of my Design

  1. Piezoelectric disc button
Pressing the Piezo disc
Piezo disc with spring and foam attached

 

piezoelectric disc

Explanation: As a picture, two buttons are attached to the flashlight. Most users might don’t know those buttons have a special power and actually generate the energy. Throughout many testings, I realized that the piezo disc itself is difficult to be pressed. Also, I was not sure if I really press the right position to generate the energy or not without the  Digital Multimeter. However, by adding the spring and the foam on the piezoelectric disc, I could notice whether I press it or not. In addition, it feels more soft and comfortable to press the button than the piezoelectric disc itself.

 

2.  Thermoelectric generator

An Ailse for cold air

 

How does a thermoelectric generator work

Explanation: Since the thermoelectric Peltier generates with the temperature difference, the more temperature differs, the more energy is produced. By leaving the empty hole inside the flashlight, I let the cold air to go inside and cool the one side of thermoelectric Peltier. As another side is heated by humans’ hand, the energy is generated.

 

Explain the areas you were successful in the product/process

  • Design: My sketch and design were easy and detailed so that my friends could understand only by looking at my sketch.
  • Creativity: I tried to use the idea outside of the box, not the original with tutorials. Therefore, my project is fully processed without any video tutorials. From design to build, 80% of the process is done by me. In fact, I was inspired by the idea of a flashlight powered by the thermal energy of humans’ hand, I did not follow that process. I added my ideas such as adding the piezoelectric disc to generate more energy, using a rechargeable battery instead of a voltage booster.
  • Effort: Even though I failed on the first design, I didn’t give up, and succeed on the second design. I stayed until 6 P.M on Thursday and tired my best to finish.

Explain the areas you need to improve in the product/process

  • Planning: I think my planning was weak. If I planned more carefully, I would not fail even on the first design. However, since these two ideas are created by me and there is no tutorial, I wasn’t sure my project would work or not. After all, I started this project as a challenge, unlike other people who just follow the tutorial.
  • Electrical circuit: I had no knowledge about how to make a circuit that transfers the electricity. I didn’t know much about electrical engineering. I will make sure that I know everything about my project before I start in next time.

 

Explain the impact of this project on the environment and potential client/consumer.

Miner: since miner works at a dark and cold place, they are the perfect audience for this flashlight. Moreover, although they are in dangerous situation, they no longer need to worry about the energy for light.

Adventurer: they can use this flashlight effectively since they are usually in a dangerous situation. Even though they are in a dangerous situation without a battery, they can use a flashlight.

A country where the energy is insufficient: citizen does not need to worry about money for the light. They can use this flashlight to study at night, work in a dark place, and any other action that the light is necessary.

 

Blogpost #3: Create and Improve

Thursday

Summary

  • Collect all the materials for my design 1 and design 2
  • Check whether Thermoelectric Peltier and Piezoelectric Disc work or not
  • Decide to build a product of design 1
  • Start working on a motor wheel

Reflection

: Since I had two pretty awesome plans and ideas for this project, I spent a few time to choose which design I a going to make. In the end, I decided to start with design 1 since design 1 with totally my own creative idea, from idea to process. Therefore, the satisfaction of observing my product will be much greater. In addition, I even bought a skateboard for this project, so I wanted to start with design 1. On the other hand, I was surprised by the fact that I can generate energy only by holding the thermoelectric disc and pumping the piezoelectric disc.

 

 

 

Monday

Summary

  • Find a difficulty with the first design: lack of materials and broken material
  • Change my mind and start to create design 2
  • Built a structure with pipe for the flashlight

Reflection
: I finally realized that I cannot finish the product of design 1 today. While I was making a wheel, I felt it takes so long time and it is impossible to create four wheels within a limited day. In addition, one of my main material, the piezoelectric disc was not enough. At first, I designed to three four piezoelectric discs at each wheel to stabilize all wheels with symmetry. However, I only found five electric discs, which means I cannot even make two wheels. Moreover, I lost one piezoelectric disc and my motor wheel was broken with unattached electrical wire. Therefore, I sadly decided to change. It felt like I gave up and fail. I really wanted to create my own design from plan to build. It was one of my dreams. More tragically, half of time that I can work was gone and I needed to restart. As a result, I didn’t even have time to regret. Even though enormous pressure was going on on my mind, I needed to start with design 2. Luckily, I could start building design 2 and built a basic structure with a pipe.

Wednesday

Summary

  • Check how much voltage can piezoelectric disc and thermoelectric Peltier generate. (video at the bottom)
  • Find out that it is impossible to turn on the flashlight without the device called voltage booster and the school doesn’t have one.
  • Decide the alternative way to use the piezoelectric disc and thermoelectric Peltier to power the flashlight: using the capacitor to store the energy and then turn on the LED when enough energy is stored.
  • connect two thermoelectric Peltier

Voltage booster: a DC to DC converter(changes one DC voltage to a different DC voltagewith an output voltage greater than the source voltage. Since I can only generate a maximum 1 voltage with two piezoelectric Disc and thermoelectric Peltier, I needed this converter to increase the output voltage to  3 voltage, which is a minimum requirement for LED.

Reflection: While I kept working on design 2, I encounter another challenge. The total voltage that Thermoelectric Peltier can generate is way lower than the sufficient voltage to turn on the LED. The Maximum total voltage was 0.1 V, and the sufficient voltage was 3 V. Therefore, I researched this problem and realized that I need a device called a voltage booster. Unfortunately, the school doesn’t have one. I came up with an alternative idea, which is storing the energy in a capacitor and turn on the LED when enough voltage is collected. However, I didn’t know how to use a capacitor, and I needed to decide quickly. In the end, I decided to use a rechargeable battery instead of the capacitor. Moreover, by adding a piezoelectric disc on the flashlight, the energy would be generated faster and more efficiently. In fact, the piezoelectric disc could generate enough energy to turn on the LED according to some videos.

Video 1    Video 2

Two connected thermoelectric disc
Rechargeable battery pack

 

 

Thursday After Class

Summary

  • Build a piezo button
  • Prepare all the materials for the last day, Friday.
  • Improve the pipe structure of flashlight for the new design(making a space to attach a battery pack)
  • Attach a battery pack

Reflection: I saw a huge improvement and progress. It was the first time I felt that I can finish within a day. Also, it reminded me of a lesson, “effort never betray”. I was building until 6 P.M.

 

Rechargeable battery pack

 

 

Friday

Summary

  • Attach all the materials like two piezo buttons and two thermoelectric Peltier to the pipe.
  • Solder the each piezo button’s positive electrical line(red line) and negative electrical line(black line)
  • Connect each thermoelectric Peltier’s electrical
  • Decorate the appearance

Reflection

: I was really glad that my final product looks pretty cool. Through various challenges and solutions, I learned priceless lessons. First, I thought I need to prepare more before I start by checking all the materials are there and consider about the time limit. Second, I needed to manage my materials more carefully. Since I put my materials in a packet without any order, some materials were broken and some were gone. Third, the effort never betrays: if I did not stay until 6 P.M on Thursday, I will not be even close to the finish. Lastly, don’t give up: since I didn’t give up on Monday when I encountered enormous challenges, I can make a second design successfully. However, I couldn’t finish my product 100 percent. I need to solder all the electric wires and build a cover for the LED. Fortunately, it is sure that my final product works if I only solder the wires. The testing video below can explain why my final product will work. Whenever the user pushes the piezo button and holds the thermoelectric handle, it generates sufficient energy. It is because most users will use it outside where the temperature difference between the weather and our hand is huge, which can produce more energy by the Seebeck effect. 

Seebeck effect is basically a phenomenon in which a temperature difference between two dissimilar electrical conductors or semiconductors produces a voltage difference between the two substances and can generate energy.

how thermoelectric works

 

Final product

 

Testing 1: Piezoelectric Disc

Testing 2: Thermoelectric Peltier

 

FeedBacks

From Mr. Stenning: recommend me not to cut and solder the wire of thermoelectric generator since if the soldered thermoelectric generator is not working, my project is failed. Alternatively he advises me to twist the wires together.

Mr. Costa: I got really helpful feedback about using machines and tools such as Power Tool and Saw.

Mr. Shokatz: Help me a lot when I have difficulties of cutting the middle pipe.

Mr. Beatty: Teach me how to store all the energy from the piezoelectric disc and thermoelectric generator.

From my friends: they recommend me to stop making the first design and start with a second design quickly. In fact, this advice was really helpful because they let me know the limitation of time and I would not be able to finish the first design.

Blogpost #2: Develop and Plan

Design 1: Piezo motor Skate Board

Plan

  • First day(Thursday): find all materials. check whether Piezoelectric disc works or not.
  • Second day(Monday): finish making one Piezo wheel of two wheels and testing whether this wheel generates energy or not.
  • Third day(Wednesday): build another wheel and connect those two wheels into pipe and bearing. build the structure with the pipe.
  • Last day(Friday): finish making.

Advantage

  • My own creative idea
  • Effective: we can generate energy only by riding a board, which is common transportation.
  • Opportunity to use various type of energy generating
  • An easy way to generate energy
  • Easy to access this board
  • Cheap to make: the materials are cheap

Disadvantage

  • Complication of managing the electrical wire: since the piezoelectric disc is attached on the wheel, and the wheel keeps moving, the electrical wire of piezoelectric disc also should rotate in the same ratio of wheel moving. In fact, I solved this problem by using bearing as shown in the picture above, it will take so much time by testing and getting the ratio of the wheel and piezoelectric disc wire’s rotation because the size of bearing and the wheel is different.
  • Limitation of time: since there are four wheels on the board, and it takes so much time to make even one wheel, I won’t finish this project on time.
  • High possibility to fail: since it is my own idea, there is no tutorial and assurance of success

How it works

:  The main idea of this is attaching a piezoelectric generator on the wheel so that whenever we ride a board, the wheel hits the ground and the attached Piezoelectric Disc gets a pressure. Therefore, it generates the energy. In addition, by using a motor as a wheel, whenever we ride a board, the wheel is rotated and generates energy. As a result, we can generate a huge amount of energy, the sum of energy from piezoelectric disc and motor, by riding a board.

Audience

  • Students who are busy to go to the extracurricular activity: by riding this special board, students can go to class on time and charge their phone by the energy generated by the board
  • People who live in a city where energy is scarce like Africa: they use the energy that they generated by riding this board

Design 2: Flashlight powered by Hand

plan

  • First day(Thursday): collect all the materials and test whether the thermoelectric Peltier and Piezoelectric disc work or not.
  • Second day(Monday): Build the outer structure with the pipe. Test whether the Peltier generates and Piezoelectric disc enough energy to turn the light on or not.
  • Third day(Wednesday): attach the Peltier and Piezoelectric into the pipe structure.
  • Last day(Friday): decorate the appearance.

Advantage

  • Creative idea: In fact, the flashlight powered thermoelectric generator already exists(created by the winner of Google Science Fair). However, I added a piezoelectric generator on her idea so that it can generate more energy: the piezoelectric disc can generate more energy than thermoelectric energy by human hands.
  • Easy to power the light: only by holding it and pressing the button
  • Cheap to make
  • Easy to make compared to the design 1
  • A good opportunity to experience various energy generator

Disadvantage

  • Not original: the flashlight powered by humans’ hand is already created by Ann Makosinshki, the winner of Google Science Fair 2013.
  • require many testings

How it works

: The main idea here is the concept of the thermoelectric generator and piezoelectric generator. The thermoelectric generator produces the energy by the difference of temperature. If one side is heated and another side is cooled, it generates the energy. That’s why I made a flashlight design with a hole inside a pipe: temperature between cold air and the thermal of hand. Also, the piezoelectric disc generates the energy if it gets the pressure. Therefore, whenever a user presses the piezo button, the energy is produced. Similar to design 1, it generates energy from two types of energy generator, which is way more effective.

Audience

workers who work in a dark place, like miner: since miner works at a dark and cold place, they are the perfect audience for this flashlight.

Adventurer: they can use this flashlight effectively since they are usually in a dangerous situation. Even though they are in a dangerous situation without a battery, they can use a flashlight.

 

Science Engineer Project #1: Define and Inquire

What is this engineering task?

: During this Science-Engineer Project, students are designing a device that converts energy, taking renewable energy & converting it to electrical energy, and creating a device that can be used to teach. The point is that we need to express our understanding of energy transfer. ‘Engineer’ means any engagement in a systematic practice of design to achieve solutions to particular human problems, and we are using our scientific ideas on designing and creating.

What are you thinking about doing?

: I am planning to create a device that transfers either sound, thermal, pressure force, to electric energy and make the light bull works. However, I am sure that I am not going to waste the electric energy to make the electric energy. I hope I can create the new energy transfer techniques.

 

The advantage of my idea would be saving the energy, but it will be hard to make a successful design.

New Techniques & Devices

Sound – electricity generator

Piezoelectric

Renewable Energy

Creative ideas that inspired me

  1. Energy-Generator Shoe

collecting energy from pressure

  • Pros: Whenever we walk, we can generate energy. Therefore, we can save the energy
  • Cons: The design of attaching energy storage is not efficient.

  2. Shake generator

getting energy from the magnet

  • Pros: We can turn on the light bull only by shaking the pipe.
  • Cons: We don’t shake too much in our normal life.