Sensor nodes are innovative devices that can perform measurements on a large scale and communicate over a network. One of the most significant problems regarding the sensor nodes is how to supply power to a large number of devices. For this reason, they greatly benefit from energy harvesting techniques which can provide energy recovered directly from the environment. A study of the design and the modeling of an autonomous sensor node, powered by a vibrational piezoelectric harvester, is reported here. Subject of the first part of the analysis is a piezoelectric bimorph: an analytical model is proposed in order to estimate the performance, giving particular attention to the optimal mechanical and electrical parameters. The model is then validated through experimental tests, assuming different kinds of real scenarios. Then the results are used to design a device that can benefit from this harvester. In particular a wireless sensor node is developed, for which the energy scavenging ensures energy autonomy and long-term operability. Thanks to a particular harvesting circuit and opportune algorithms for energy management, this system is able to extract energy from vibrations and store it into capacitors. The embedded accelerometer and a wireless module make this device ideal for Structure Health Monitoring purposes.

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