183. design and application of piezoelectric composite materials and devices

Department: NanoEngineering
Research Institute Affiliation: Graduate Program in Chemical Engineering
Faculty Advisor(s): Donald J. Sirbuly

Primary Student
Name: James Lance Middlebrook
Email: jmiddleb@ucsd.edu
Phone: 805-231-1636
Grad Year: 2019

Piezoelectric materials have proven useful in sensing and power generation applications due to their ability to generate charge as a response to mechanical stresses. The majority of these materials take the form of brittle ceramics such as lead zirconate titanate (PZT) which, due to their high fragility, have significantly restricted applications. That obstacle can be circumvented through the use of next generation piezoelectric polymeric composite materials. These composites are able to produce comparable signals while holding several advantages such as flexibility, improved biocompatibility, and advanced robustness. Our current work has been able to create these porous foam-like composites as well as intricate 3D printed microstructures. Through the use of a sucrose templating method or casting method, porous macro-scale piezoelectric polymer composites are formed by incorporating materials such as barium titanate (BaTiO3), polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and polyurethane (PU). This yields flexible and compressible devices with applications in localized sensing. It is possible to integrate these simple yet powerful porous materials into a wider range of products by instilling desirable properties such as force sensitivity and impact detection into conventional products including packaging materials or wearable devices. We have also been able to demonstrate 3D printed microstructures which are able to incorporate piezoelectric nanoparticles and properties. Through the use of optical masks to selectively UV cross-link polymers such as polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA) and polycarbonates, a repeating array of intricate microstructures can be efficiently produced in seconds. Complex structures can be created through this projection printing method which would be unfeasible through conventional ceramic piezoelectrics sculpting methods. The projection printing method allows for these piezoelectric composite materials to be a competitive choice for force monitoring and pressure sensing applications.

Industry Application Area(s)
Energy/Clean technology | Materials

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