Topology optimization of piezoelectric nanostructures

S. S. Nanthakumar, Tom Lahmer, Xiaoying Zhuang, Harold S. Park, Timon Rabczuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


We present an extended finite element formulation for piezoelectric nanobeams and nanoplates that is coupled with topology optimization to study the energy harvesting potential of piezoelectric nanostructures. The finite element model for the nanoplates is based on the Kirchoff plate model, with a linear through the thickness distribution of electric potential. Based on the topology optimization, the largest enhancements in energy harvesting are found for closed circuit boundary conditions, though significant gains are also found for open circuit boundary conditions. Most interestingly, our results demonstrate the competition between surface elasticity, which reduces the energy conversion efficiency, and surface piezoelectricity, which enhances the energy conversion efficiency, in governing the energy harvesting potential of piezoelectric nanostructures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-335
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 1


  • Surface elasticity
  • Surface piezoelectricity
  • Topology optimization
  • ZnO nanostructures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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