Lesser-known piezoelectric and pyroelectric applications of electroactive polymers

Sidney B. Lang, Supasarote Muensit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The piezoelectric effect was first observed in polyvinylidene fluoride polymer (PVDF) in 1969 and the pyroelectric effect was found several years later. A number of additional ferroelectric polymers have been discovered since that time including the copolymer PVDF with trifluoroethylene (P(VDF-TrFE)), and the odd-numbered nylons. A large number of applications of piezoelectricity and pyroelectricity have been developed. The magnitudes of the effects in polymers are much lower than those of ferroelectric ceramics (an exception is the piezoelectric effect in porous polymers). However, other factors make these very desirable materials for applications. The polymers have low permittivities, low acoustic impedances and low thermal conductivities. They are available in large area sheets and they are flexible and relatively low in cost. Major applications include microphones and loudspeakers, ultrasonic devices, SAW transducers, actuators, infrared detectors and many others. This review will describe some of the lesser-known applications of these materials in the fields of tactile devices, energy conversion, porous polymers, property measurement, pyroelectric infrared sensors, shock sensors and space science.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 8 May 2006
Event2005 Materials Research Society Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: 28 Nov 20051 Dec 2005

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0272-9172


Conference2005 Materials Research Society Fall Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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