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 created electricity. Today, we know that piezoelectricity is the ability of certain materials like quartz, Rochelle salts, and various other solids, to generate an alternating current voltage when put under mechanical stress and/or vibration. The piezoelectric effect is when a material under mechanical stress produces an electrical charge. All materials that are subject to the piezoelectric effect are also subject to the reverse piezoelectric effect. This is when you apply an electrical charge to a material to produce 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 is 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 even weapon guidance systems.

Future applications of Piezoelectric materials

There are endless possibilities to what the future holds for piezoelectric materials. With the increase in research being done on this subject, we are learning more about the possibilities it can bring. Most recently in 2012, scientists from Berkeley turned a harmless virus into a piezoelectric generator. Imagine how amazing it would be if you could charge your phone just by walking. Piezoelectricity is also very important for the future of nanotechnology. This material 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. From components to assemblies, we have the capabilities to do it all. Visit our piezoelectric products page to learn more about the various products we can manufacture.