Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



One of the limiting factors in on-board bearing health monitoring systems is the life of the batteries used to power the system. Thus, any device that can extend the life of the battery, or entirely replace it, is a notable improvement on any currently available systems. Existing on-board monitoring systems, not optimized for low power, are designed to run on approximately 300 mW of power. Current bearing health monitoring systems have proven effective with as few as one reading every four minutes. The environment under which railroad bearings operate is a harsh one, making most forms of energy harvesting very hard to implement. Terfenol-D is a novel and sustainable solution for this problem due to its durable characteristics and strong magnetostriction. A fixture is designed using multiple magnets of ranging magnetization to properly characterize energy harvesting using Terfenol-D. The maximum available power observed during these experiments is about 77 mW under ideal conditions. The generated power is sufficient to run low-power bearing health monitoring systems.


Copyright © 2015 by ASME. Original published version available at

Publication Title

Proceedings of the 2015 Joint Rail Conference





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