Enhanced active piezoelectric 0-3 nanocomposites fabricated through electrospun nanowires

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The use of monolithic piezoceramic materials in sensing and actuation applications has become quite common over the past decade. However, these materials have several properties that limit their application in practical systems. These materials are very brittle due to the ceramic nature of the monolithic material, making them vulnerable to accidental breakage during handling and bonding procedures. In addition, they have very poor ability to conform to curved surfaces and result in large add-on mass associated with using a typically lead-based ceramic. These limitations have motivated the development of alternative methods of applying the piezoceramic material, including piezoceramic fiber composites and piezoelectric 0-3 composites (also known as piezoelectric paint). Piezoelectric paint is desirable because it can be spayed or painted on and can be used with abnormal surfaces. However, the piezoelectric paint developed in prior studies has resulted in low coupling, limiting its application. In order to increase the coupling of the piezoelectric paint, this effort has investigated the use of piezoelectric nanowires rather than spherical piezoelectric particle, which are difficult to strain when embedded in a polymer matrix. The piezoceramic wires were electrospun from a barium titanate (BaTi O3) sol gel to produce fibers with 500-1000 nm diameters and subsequently calcinated to acquire perovskite BaTi O3. An active nanocomposite paint was formed using the resulting piezoelectric wires and was compared to the same paint with piezoelectric nanoparticles. The results show that the piezoceramic wires produce 0-3 nanocomposites with as high as 300% increase in electromechanical coupling. © 2008 American Institute of Physics.

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Journal of Applied Physics