What is a Piezoelectric Motor?

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Published: 17th November 2011
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Piezoelectricity is the word for a transducer relationship between electric power and mechanical oscillation. The piezoelectric effect is situated in certain materials which have the capacity to generate electricity when exposed to mechanical stress. This material pressure-rotating, distorting or compressing-has to be simply enough to deform the crystal structure without fracturing it.

Piezo properties are specific in that they can be reversible. This means that materials exhibiting the direct piezoelectric effect, or the generation of electric energy when mechanical tension is applied, also display the opposite piezo effect, the creation of physical tension when an outer electric field is applied.

Piezoelectricity was discovered during the 19th century by the Curie brothers. At that time, they were only 21 and 24 years old. They realized that quartz crystals created an electric field when pressured on a primary axis. The word piezo comes from the Greek; Piezein, which means “to squeeze or press,” and piezo, which means “push.”

What exactly is a Piezo Motor?

A piezo motor utilizes the piezoelectric effect, which is the tension that forces a multilayered material, like quartz or Rochelle salt, to bend when charged with an electric current. A piezoelectric motor does not create or require magnetic fields, and it's not at all influenced by them. In that regard, the piezo motor performs more effectively when compared to a regular electric motor unit. It is compact, amazingly powerful, rapid and contains neither rotors nor gears.

I once found an article about a piezo motor that was the size of a sugar cube. It could maneuver several centimeters at one time and could lift as high as 1,000 times its own weight.

The Workings of a Piezo Motor

The piezoelectric motor has been integrated in microchip creation for several years, so this is not a new idea. Lead, zirconate and titanate powders are prepared, morphed and polarized. To reach polarization, electric fields are utilized to position the piezoelectric materials along a primary axis.

This process seems complex, but the piezo motor operates similarly to materials containing iron are magnetized. After an electrical source is applied, the piezoelectric motor uses its poled ceramic shape to create movement with the use of routine, sinusoidal electric fields.

The ceramic area is joined with a precision stage, and the resultant power of the piezo motor yields stage movement. Depending on how the joining mechanism is built, a piezo motor can travel both linearly and in rotationally. The routine nature from the driving voltage allows for limitless travel and clean movement.

Piezo Motor Variations

The piezoelectric motor continues to be produced in many different waysseveral different ways for several different uses. The traveling-wave piezo motor is used for the auto-focus feature in reflex cameras and the inchworm piezo motor moves linearly. A few piezoelectric motors are employed in camera sensor displacement technology, permitting anti-shake capabilities.

The piezo motor can be used in handheld devices, medical technology devices, the automotive sector and in electronic household electrical appliances. The piezoelectric motor has started to become increasingly more cost-effective, even for mass volume uses in high-precision systems.

While the piezoelectric motor is but one specific application of the piezo effect, an array of other uses exist. Currently, modern piezoelectric materials are mass-manufactured for many uses-underwater transducers, healthcare products, and ultrasonic cleansers, for example.

For more info about the piezo motor, you can find a handful of resource online. In fact, you can even learn to construct your own motor. The piezoelectric effect is a remarkable phenomenon, one that we'll likely see increased exposure of in the future.

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