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Piezo sandwich can act as a sensor, actuator or generator

02 November, 2007

The piezoelectric specialist Physik Instrumente (PI) has come up with a flexible piezo-based device that can act as a sensor, actuator or energy source. The "piezo composite patch transducers" can be applied to flat or curved surfaces and are aimed at applications such as precision motion control and dynamic positioning and sensing. According to PI, they can also be used to harvest and store energy.

PI piezo sandwich

The transducers are formed by placing a piezo-ceramic foil between two conductive films and embedded the sandwich in a ductile composite polymer. This construction pre-stresses and electrically insulates the piezo-ceramic, resulting in a rugged device with a low failure rate and a claimed lifetime of more than 109 cycles.

The piezo transducers can be bent to radii as tight as 20mm. When used as bender-actuators, they can produce deflections of up to 0.8mm with high force and precision. If embedded in a servo-control loop, the transducers can be used to reduce vibrations, and their contours can be controlled with nanometre precision.

A matching amplifier is available to provide precise control for bipolar shear and bender actuation, in both static and dynamic operation.

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