Piezoelectric Devices in the Sustainable Society

Kenji Uchino


Our 21st century faces to a “sustainable society”, which enhances (a) usage of non-toxic materials, (b) disposal technology for existing hazardous materials, (c) reduction of contamination gas, (d) environmental monitoring system, (e) new energy source creation, and (f) energy-efficient device development in the piezoelectric area. With reducing their size, the electromagnetic components reduce their efficiency drastically. Thus, piezoelectric transducers with much less losses are highly sought recently. Piezoelectric devices seem to be all-around contributors and a key component to the above mentioned five R&D areas. Some of the efforts include: (a) Since the most popular piezoelectric lead zirconate titante ceramics will be regulated in European and Asian societies due to their toxicity (Pb2+ ion), lead-free piezoelectrics have been developed. (b) Since hazardous organic substances can easily be dissolved by the ultrasonic irradiation in water, a new safe disposal technology using piezoelectric transducers has been developed. (c) We demonstrated an energy recovery system on a hybrid car from its engine’s mechanical vibration to the rechargeable battery. (d) Micro ultrasonic motors based on piezoelectrics demonstrated 1/20 reduction in the volume and a 20-time increase in efficiency of the conventional electromagnetic motors. This paper introduces leading piezoelectric materials, devices, and drive/control methods, relating with the above “sustainability” technologies, aiming at further research expansion in this area.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/se.v4n4p181


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