Nondestructive characterization of PZT materials for sensor and actuator applications

Scherer, V.; Hirsekorn, S.; Rabe, U.; Arnold, W.
May 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 509 Issue 1, p1493
Academic Journal
Ceramic materials with heterogeneous phase content and internal boundaries are unique in their electromechanical properties. Due to the interaction between those properties, these so-called multifunctional materials are suited for the realization of parts that have to yield complex functions in a system such as sensors and actuators. The knowledge of the materials microstructure and the elastic constants is essential for materials optimization and quality assessment. In this article, nondestructive techniques are presented to evaluate the microstructure and the elastic constants of a number of lead titanate zirconate (PZT) piezoceramics. Ultrasonic pulse-echo techniques were used to determine the elastic constants of different materials. When the piezoelectric material is poled, i.e., when the ferroelectric domains have a preferred orientation, we observe an increased sound velocity when the wave polarization is parallel to the poling direction. This elastic stiffening effect is being described theoretically. Finally, the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) has been employed to image the ferroelectric domains of the piezoceramics. The microfabricated conductive tip of an AFM was used as a single electrode to excite vibrations of individual ferroelectric domains. Depending on their orientation, the recorded vibration amplitude varies between the domains and hence, forms a contrast. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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