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28 April 2011 Improved energy density of nanocomposites with aligned PZT nanowires
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The use of piezoelectric materials has become more popular for a wide range of applications, including structural health monitoring, power harvesting, vibration sensing and actuation. However, piezoceramic materials are often prone to breakage and are difficult to apply to curved surfaces when in their monolithic form. One approach to alleviate these issues is to embed the fragile piezoceramic inclusion into a polymer matrix. The flexible nature of the polymer matrix protects the ceramic from breaking under mechanical loading and makes the resulting compoistes easier to apply onto curved structure. However, most developed active ceramic composites have relatively low electroelastic coupling compared to bulk piezoceramics. There are two main methods to improve the eletroelastic properties of piezoceramic composites, namely using higher aspect ratio active inclusions and alignment of inclusions in the electric field direction. In this paper, the dielectric and energy storage property of nanowire composites is significantly enhanced by aligning the nanowires in the direction of the applied electrical field. PZT nanowires are hydrothermally synthesized and solutioncast into a polymer matrix, and then aligned using a shear flow based stretching method. The alignment was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy images and it is shown that the nanowires can be successfully aligned in the PVDF. The dielectric constant and energy density of the nanocomposites were tested using Agilent E4980A LCR meter and Sawyer-Tower circuit. This testing result shows that the dielectric constant and energy density of the composites can be increased by as much as 35.7% and 49.3% by aligning the nanowires in the electric field direction. Piezoceramic composites with enhanced energy storage property could lead to broader applications when using this type of materials for polymer based capacitive energy storage.
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Haixiong Tang, Yirong Lin, and Henry A. Sodano "Improved energy density of nanocomposites with aligned PZT nanowires", Proc. SPIE 7978, Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Composites 2011, 79780S (28 April 2011);

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