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Investigation of Large Strain Actuation in Barium Titanate


Burcsu, Eric Noboru (2001) Investigation of Large Strain Actuation in Barium Titanate. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/XT3Y-Z860.


Sensors and actuators based on ferroelectric materials have become indispensable in the fields of aerospace, high technology, and medical instruments. Most devices rely on the linear piezoelectric behavior of formulations of PZT which offer high bandwidth, linear actuation but very low strains of around 0.1%. The nonlinear electromechanical behavior of these materials is largely governed by the motion of domains and is highly affected by stress as well as electric field. The recent theories of Shu and Bhattacharya have sought to address some of the issues related to the structure and behavior of these materials at the mesoscale. One result of the theories is the prediction of another mode of actuation in ferroelectric crystals based on a combined electrical and mechanical loading that could result in strains of up to 6%.

Descriptions of the phenomenological theories of ferroelectrics are presented including the classical Landau-Ginsburg-Devonshire theory and the more recent theory of Shu and Bhattacharya. Predictions are made, based on the theory, of the electromechanical behavior of ferroelectric crystals that are addressed by the experiments. An experimental setup has been designed to investigate large strain actuation in single crystal ferroelectrics based on combined electrical and mechanical loading. An investigation of the stress dependence of the electrostrictive response has been carried out with in situ observations of the domain patterns under constant compressive stress and variable electric field. Experiments have been performed on initially single domain crystals of barium titanate with (100) and (001) orientation at compressive stresses between 0 and 5 MPa. Global strain and polarization histories have been recorded. The electrostrictive response is shown to be highly dependent on the level of applied stress with a maximum strain of 0.9% measured at a compressive stress of about 2 MPa. An unusual secondary hysteresis has been observed in the polarization signal at high levels of stress that indicates an intermediate structural configuration, possibly the orthorhombic state. Polarized light microscopy has been used to observe the evolution of the domain pattern simultaneously with the strain and polarization measurement. These results are discussed and suggestions for future work are proposed.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:active materials; smart materials; smart structures; solid mechanics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Minor Option:Materials Science
Awards:Donald Coles Prize in Aeronautics, 2001
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami
Thesis Committee:
  • Rosakis, Ares J. (chair)
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami
  • Bhattacharya, Kaushik (co-chair)
  • Ortiz, Michael
  • Haile, Sossina M.
Defense Date:15 May 2001
Non-Caltech Author Email:burcsu (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-10232001-192042
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4218
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:06 Nov 2001
Last Modified:02 Dec 2022 00:16

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