What is Piezoelectricity?

Piezoelectricity, also called the piezoelectric effect, was discovered in 1880 by two French brothers. They found that putting pressure on materials like quartz and Rochelle salts created electricity. Today, we know that piezoelectricity is the electricity produced by certain materials as a result of being put under mechanical stress and/or vibration. All materials that exhibit the piezoelectric effect also exhibit the reverse piezoelectric effect. That is, when you apply an electrical charge to a material it produces a mechanical strain.

What is Piezoelectricity currently used for?

Piezoelectric materials are very common in everyday items like electric lighters, buzzers, microphones, etc, the most common application being the electric lighters. They work by using a hammer to strike a rod shaped piezoelectric ceramic which produces a spark that ignites the fuel. There are also many other applications of piezoelectric materials including sonar systems, ultrasonic imaging, and weapon guidance systems.

Future applications of Piezoelectric materials

There are endless possibilities to what the future holds for piezoelectric materials. With increased research on the subject, we are learning even more about the possibilities it can bring. For example, in 2012, scientists from Berkeley turned a harmless virus into a piezoelectric generator. More recently, NASA announced a project in which a footpath built using piezoelectric materials would capture the kinetic energy from pedestrians and use it to power streetlights and WiFi. Piezoelectricity is also very important for the future of nanotechnology. This new technology could bring a whole new chapter in science and technology. No one knows what the future will hold, but this material will be in the forefront of new technological developments.

What does PiezoDirect do?

PiezoDirect specializes in custom piezo ceramic design and manufacturing. We streamline the entire concept-to-production process which means we are a one-stop-shop for all your piezo needs. Visit our piezoelectric products page to learn more about the various products we can manufacture.