Faculty Mentor

Mandar Kulkarni


As the human population continues to increase, the demand for energy with this increase has become unsustainable. Fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and crude oil have long been the resources that have supported the generation of energy for populations around the world. In recent years, these resources have been depleted at an alarming rate without significantly being recovered. This means that natural resources are now facing imminent extinction that would catastrophically cripple the daily operations of societies around the globe. As a result, there is a global effort to find alternate and eco-friendly sources of energy sooner rather than later. In an attempt to join the ongoing effort and search for more sustainable and efficient energy sources, this paper proposes the use of piezoelectric polymer foam to generate electricity through daily and simple tasks such as walking. The goal is to harness the polymer’s ability to generate electricity and apply the electrical outcome from the mechanical stress exerted on the polymer as a form of energy that could be used instantaneously. Two systems are introduced: a foam prototype that acts as a piezoelectric sensor by itself, and a full-fledged shoe prototype that uses purchased piezoelectric sensors underneath the sole.



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