Alex Preston ’21


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Project Title

Helmholtz Resonators for Energy Harvesting

My research focused on attempting to improve the power-generation capabilities of a concept Helmholtz resonator wind-power harvester. The Helmholtz resonator is a container with specific dimensional requirements in neck size and cavity volume. Wind power is created when incoming air presses down on an installed piezoelectric disk, which produces voltage in response to physical deformation. I focused on examining the efficiency and maximum power generation of the most recent resonator setup and attempted to improve these figures through alterations to the system’s wiring. I gained insight into the world of academic research, valuable experience working on a substantial project in a small group environment, and a knowledge of conducting high-level research. These takeaways will help me in my coursework and as I write my senior thesis. The experience also has made me think about a potential future in academia, something I would not have considered before. I will be forever thankful to PEI and the entirety of Prof. Smits’ lab for this opportunity.

Internship Year


Project Category

Alternative Energy


 Smits Fluid Mechanics Lab, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University- Princeton, New Jersey


 Alexander Smits, Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Emeritus; Daniel Floryan, Ph.D. candidate, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Tyler Van Buren, Lab Manager, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering