What is Piezoelectricity?
Piezoelectricity or the piezoelectric effect is the electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials in response to applied mechanical stress. This effect could also be reversed in that the material will produce an electric charge if mechanical stress is applied to it. The term for piezoelectricity comes from the Greek word “piezo” which means to squeeze or press.
Piezoelectric materials can be grouped into two categories: ceramics and crystals. Natural piezoelectric materials include quartz, cane sugar, Rochelle salt, etc. Man-made piezoelectric materials include lead zirconate titanate, barium titante, lithium niobite, etc.
The need for piezoelectric materials is on a constant up rise which means that the demand for piezoelectric companies is also going up. Both governments and investors are increasing their funding into piezoelectric devices and the U.S market size for piezoelectric devices should grow to $24.92 billion by 2023.
Applications of Piezoelectric Ceramics
The applications of piezoelectric ceramics are endless. As our knowledge of piezoelectricity grows, this piezoelectric material will be used in more and more products. For example, piezoelectric materials are now being researched for energy harvesting purposes. In Tokyo, several train stations use piezoelectric energy to generate the power needed to run the ticket machines and electronic displays. California has funded two piezoelectric projects last year to test the efficiency of energy harvesting. The first project will be to build a 60-meter stretch of roadway near UC Merced and the 2nd project will use similar piezoelectric devices to generate power. California state officials say if the experiments works well, they will expand this project to other roads in the state.
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