, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 553-558
Date: 25 Feb 2012

Pressure dependence of space charge deposition in piezoelectric polymer foams: simulations and experimental verification

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The piezoelectric activity of PQ-50 cellular polypropylene (PP) foam (an example of a so-called ferroelectret) is measured after repeated charging in a nitrogen atmosphere at a range of pressures between 61 and 381 kPa. The results are compared against simulations using a multilayer electromechanical model based on Townsend’s model of Paschen breakdown and a realistic distribution of void heights determined from scanning electron micrographs. The modeled piezoelectric coefficients versus pressure are in good agreement with experimental data when adjusted Paschen coefficients are used, indicating that the Paschen curve for electric breakdown in gases needs to be modified for dielectric barrier discharges in microcavities. The highest d 33 coefficients were achieved for pressures above 251 kPa. For previously uncharged PP foam, the model predicts an optimal charging pressure of 186 kPa.