Piezoelectric paint: Ceramic-polymer composites for vibration sensors
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A piezoelectric ceramic-polymer composite has been developed for use as a novel thick film strain sensor for vibration monitoring of structures. The material is in the form of a paint that can be applied to a wide range of substrates using conventional spraying equipment. The sensor properties depend on the morphology of the composite and on the electrodes that are used to couple it to the charge amplifier. Electrodes of various kinds have been tested. Interaction between the electrode and the piezoelectric paint sometimes occurs (for example, the organic vehicle for spray-coated electrodes may interact with the paint binder). The morphologies of the piezoelectric paint and of the electrode materials have been studied using light optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to investigate the effect of different compositions and of different processing conditions (e.g., paint mixing schedule). Preliminary work is reported on the characteristics of the piezoelectric particles and on the effect of heat treatment applied to anneal out defects produced by milling. X-ray analysis and particle size analysis have been used to characterize the changes that take place on heat treatment. X-ray diffractometry has also been used to follow the effect of poling on the paint sensors. At the present state of development, sensors made using the paint have a dynamic range of at least 40–4000 microstrain and a bandwidth of at least 1 Hz–2 kHz, and piezoelectric coefficient d31 of approximately 20 pC/N. The sensors are resistant to outdoor exposure and a successful field trial has been conducted.
KeywordsMilling Particle Size Analysis Piezoelectric Coefficient Strain Sensor Outdoor Exposure
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