Smart structures by integrated piezoelectric thin fibers. Part 2: Properties of composites and their physical description
The integration and control of PZT fibers with tiny diameters into composite materials leads to a new type of material. Tiny PZT fibers can be aligned in an array, electrodized with interdigital electrodes and then integrated. Evidence of sensoric and actuatoric properties of integrated PZT fiber architectures has been presented. The results achieved so far are a basis to explore the potentials of such materials by optimizing the fiber composition, the structural design of composite materials and - last but not least - the 'intelligence' of the controller. The fiber development is not yet finished. The next necessary steps are the optimization of the chemical composition and the microstructure with respect to the mentioned applications and the further development of the fiber preparation technology. Soft PZT formulations are now under investigation and will be available in the near future. The fiber technology is still challenging. The authors' mid-term target is to develop and to establish a continuous process which can deliver larger quantities of fibers necessary for the development of components. At present the fibers are produced batchwise on a laboratory scale. The authors expect that 'intelligent' composite materials with integrated PZT fibers can trigger the production of a large number of new products.