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International Journal of Instrumentation Control and Automation

Abstract

This work aimed at fabrication and electromechanical characterization of a smart material system composed of electroactive polymer and ceramic materials. The idea of composite material system is on account of complementary characteristics of the polymer and ceramic for flexibility and piezoelectric activity. Our preliminary work included Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) as the flexible piezoelectric polymer, and Zinc Oxide (ZnO) as the piezoelectric ceramic brittle, but capable to respond strains without poling. Two alternative processes were investigated. The first process makes use of ZnO fibrous formation achieved by sintering PVA/zinc acetate precursor fibers via electrospinning. Highly brittle fibrous ZnO mat was dipped into a PVDF polymer solution and then pressed to form pellets. The second process employed commercial ZnO nanopowder material. The powder was mixed into a PVDF/acetone polymer solution, and the resultant paste was pressed to form pellets. The free standing composite pellets with electrodes on the top and bottom surfaces were then subjected to sinusoidal electric excitation and response was recorded using a fotonic sensor. An earlier work on electrospun PVDF fiber mats was also summarized here and the electromechanical characterization is reported.

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