Depolarization field effect on dielectric and piezoelectric properties of particulate ferroelectric ceramic-polymer composites

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© 2015 AIP Publishing LLC. The effects of depolarization field on the dielectric and piezoelectric properties of ferroelectric ceramic particle-filled polymer-matrix composites are investigated at the underlying domain level. Phase field modeling and simulation reveals that the macroscopic properties of the composites are dominated by depolarization field effect, which depends on the arrangement and alignment rather than the size or internal grain structure of the ferroelectric particulates. It is found that 0-3 particu-late composites with random dispersion of ferroelectric particles behave essentially like linear dielectric rather than ferroelectric materials, and domain-level analysis reveals the physical mechanism for lack of domain switching or hysteresis as attributed to strong depolarization effect. Thus, without effective reduction or elimination of the depolarization field, the composites cannot benefit from the functional fillers regardless of their superior properties. In order to exhibit the desired ferroelectric behaviors, it necessitates continuous ferroelectric phase connectivity in the composites.

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Journal of Applied Physics