Engineers developed 3D printing of piezoelectric materials

The team of engineers presented a method of three-dimensional sorrow of intelligent piezoelectric materials, which can be specifically configured to convert vibrations, pressure or shocks in any directions to electrical energy.

Piezoelectric materials were open in the 19th century, but since then the process of their production has required a clean room and performing complex, costly manipulations. In this case, the products obtained are quite fragile, which limits the potential of their practical application. However, researchers from Virginia’s Polytechnic University presented technology to produce piezoelectric materials of any shape, size and rigidity.

For this, highly sensitive inks, consisting of piezoelectric crystals placed in gels sensitive to ultraviolet radiation were synthesized. As a result, a white solution is formed, from which three-dimensional high-resolution structures are manufactured using a light 3D printer, with an accuracy of the share of the diameter of the human hair.

Manipulating ink composition and structure of the product, you can customize the thickness, mass, rigidity and the level of energy absorption of 3D printing piezoelectric materials. At the same time, their sensitivity is 5 times higher than the indicators of flexible polymer analogues. The use of digital technologies makes it possible to achieve the necessary characteristics, operation modes and transformation coefficients. This allows them to be used not only to generate electricity, but also as sensors. Vibrations, blows and pressure generate electrical signals, thanks to which you can determine the location, size and direction of exposure.

Engineers argue that the ability to achieve the desired mechanical, electrical and thermal properties will significantly reduce the time and costs of manufacturing materials for practical application. The team printed and demonstrated products for collecting energy in the form of rings for curved surfaces, boxing gloves to determine the force of impact, as well as models for converting underwater vibrations into electricity. Scientists expect technology to stimulate the development of robotics, tactile sensing and smart infrastructure, which allows tracking the location of all objects relating to its objects.

Previously, we also wrote about the invention of a different 3D printing technology, in which instead of the sequential overlay of one-dimensional layers of the material of the model are formed by