A new piezoelectric material converts mechanical stress into electricity

Piezoelectric material converts mechanical stress into electricity or vice versa, which is useful in actuators, sensors and many other applications.

A new piezoelectric material can convert mechanical stress into electricity.
Qiming Zhang, a prominent professor of electrical engineering, led a team of researchers to develop a robust piezoelectric material capable of converting mechanical stress into electricity. Video Credit: Tyler Henderson / Penn State.

However, according to Qiming Zhang, a prominent professor of electrical engineering, the installation of piezoelectrics in polymers, ie materials made from molecular circuits and commonly used in medicines, plastics, etc., can be difficult.

Zhang is a Penn State– An interdisciplinary team of scientists developed a polymer with strong piezoelectric efficiency, resulting in 60% more efficient electricity generation compared to previous iterations.

The study was published on March 25thth2022, in the magazine Science.

Historically, the electromechanical bonding of polymers has been very low. We have sought to improve this because, due to the relative softness of the polymers, they are ideal for soft sensors and actuators in a variety of areas, including biological sensing, sonar, and artificial muscles. plus.

Qiming Zhang, Honorary Professor of Electrical Engineering at Penn State University

To create the material, the researchers intentionally added chemical impurities to the polymer. This process, called doping, allows researchers to adjust the properties of a substance to achieve the desired effect if they combine the required number of impurities.

Adding too little additive can prevent the desired effects, and adding too much can cause undesirable properties that interfere with the function of the substance.

The distance between the positive and negative charges was distorted due to the alloying inside the structural components of the polymer. Distortion separates the opposite charges, so the components are very efficient in accommodating the external electric charge. Zhang said this accumulation improves the transmission of electricity in the polymer when it is deformed

To enhance the effects of doping and guarantee the smoothing of molecular chains, the researchers stretched the polymer. According to Zhang, this combination increases the electromechanical response more than that obtained from a polymer with randomly aligned chains.

The efficiency of polymer power generation has greatly increased. With this process, we have achieved 70% efficiency – a huge improvement over 10% in the past.

Qiming Zhang, Honorary Professor of Electrical Engineering at Penn State University

Due to this strong electromechanical property inherent in rough ceramic materials, the flexible polymer can be applied in a variety of ways.

Because the polymer’s resistance to sound waves is similar to that of water and human tissues, it can be used for medical imaging, underwater hydrophones, or pressure sensors.

In addition, polymers are generally less weighty and more configurable than ceramics, so this polymer may offer the opportunity to explore robotics, imaging, and more. improvements, Zhang said.

Other contributors to this work include Xin Chen, Penn State Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; Hancheng Qin, Bing Zhang, Wenchang Lu, and J. Bernholc of North Carolina State University; Xiaoshi Qian with Shanhai Jiao Tong University in China.

Additional authors include Wenyi Zhu of the Penn State School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Bo Li and Shihai Zhang with PolyK Technologies State College; Ruipeng Li with Brookhaven National Laboratory; Lei Zhu with Case Western Reserve University; and Fabrice Domingues Dos Santos with Arkema in France. In addition, Qiming Zhang is affiliated with Peno State Materials Research Institute.

The study was financially supported by the U.S. Navy Research Bureau.

Magazine link:

Chenas, X. etc. (2022) Relaxor ferroelectric polymer has an extremely strong electromechanical bond in the presence of a small electric field. Science. doi.org/10.1126/science.abn0936.

Source: https://www.psu.edu/

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