Influence of the Load Dependent Material Properties on the Performance of Multilayer Piezoelectric Actuators

  • Hannes Grünbichler
  • Josef Kreith
  • Raúl Bermejo
  • Clemens Krautgasser
  • Peter Supancic
Conference paper
Part of the IUTAM Bookseries book series (IUTAMBOOK, volume 24)


Multilayer piezoelectric actuators are commonly used to control injection valves in modern combustion-engines. Their structural and functional integrity is associated with the loading conditions as well as with the actuator-design. In service mechanical stresses are an inherent loading scenario of such electro-mechanical converter components. Internal inhomogeneous mechanical and electrical fields may harm their integrity and accelerate phenomena such as degradation, fatigue and subcritical crack growth. A way to delay these phenomena is to reduce the tensile field-amplitudes by operating these piezoelectric components under a low compressive bias-stress. However, this also may influence the component’s performance. Interestingly, this bias-stress enhances its strain characteristics. In this work the electro-mechanical behaviour of a multilayer actuator has been characterised under different loading conditions using an adapted universal materials testing machine (UTM). The stiffness of the UTM has also been adjusted to simulate realistic conditions. This adaption enables the measurement of mechanical properties– such as mechanical stress and the corresponding strain– and electrical quantities, i.e. the electrical charge (or electric displacement) and the applied voltage (or electrical field) to the actuator. As a result, the stiffness, hysteresis-loops, such as the dielectric and butterfly curves and the stress-strain loop, as well as the actuator’s performance, can be measured.


Electrical Field Strength Field Enhancement Switchable Domain Subcritical Crack Growth Applied Electrical Field Strength 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Financial support by the Austrian Federal Government (in particular from the Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie and the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Arbeit) and the Styrian Provincial Government, represented by Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft mbH and by Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH, within the research activities of the K2 Competence Centre on “Integrated Research in Materials, Processing and Product Engineering,” operated by the Materials Center Leoben Forschung GmbH in the framework of the Austrian COMET Competence Centre Programme, is gratefully acknowledged.

The authors thank furthermore Mr. Athenstaedt W, Mr. Auer C and Mr. Hoffmann C for critical discussions and the company EPCOS OHG, Deutschlandsberg, Austria, for providing the material for this investigation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannes Grünbichler
    • 1
  • Josef Kreith
    • 2
  • Raúl Bermejo
    • 1
  • Clemens Krautgasser
    • 2
  • Peter Supancic
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Struktur- und FunktionskeramikLeobenAustria
  2. 2.Materials Center Leoben Forschung GmbHLeobenAustria

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