Many common environmental vibration sources exhibit low and broad frequency spectra. In order to exploit such excitations, energy harvesting architectures utilizing nonlinearity, especially bistability, have been widely studied since the energetic interwell oscillations between their stable equilibria can provide enhanced power harvesting capability over a wider bandwidth compared to the linear counterpart. However, one of the limitations of these nonlinear architectures is that the interwell oscillation regime may not be activated for a low excitation level that is not strong enough to overcome the potential energy barrier, thus resulting in low amplitude intrawell response which provides poor energy harvesting performance. While the strategic integration of bistability and additional dynamic elements has shown potential to improve broadband energy harvesting performance by lowering the potential barrier, there is a clear opportunity to further improve the energy harvesting performance by extracting electrical power from the kinetic energy in the additional element that is induced when the potential barrier is lowered. To explore this opportunity and advance the state of the art, this research develops a novel hybrid bistable vibration energy harvesting system with a passive mechanism that not only adaptively lowers the potential energy barrier level to improve broadband performance but also exploits additional means to capture more usable electrical power. The proposed harvester is comprised of a cantilever beam with repulsive magnets, one attached at the free end and the other attached to a linear spring that is axially aligned with the cantilever (a spring-loaded magnet oscillator). This new approach capitalizes on the adaptive bistable potential that is passively realized by the spring-loaded magnet oscillator, which lowers the double-well potential energy barrier thereby facilitating the interwell oscillations of the cantilever across a broad range of excitation conditions, especially for low excitation amplitudes and frequencies. The interwell oscillation of the cantilever beam enhances not only the piezoelectric energy harvesting from the beam but also the electromagnetic energy harvesting from the spring-loaded magnet oscillator by inducing large amplitude vibrations of the magnet oscillator. Numerical investigations found that the proposed architecture yields significantly enhanced energy harvesting performance compared to the conventional bistable harvester with fixed magnet.

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