A technique to enhance the power output of piezoelectric materials : Research 

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Shimla, Dec 11
By Roop Lal Kaundal
A Team of Indian Institutes of Technology Mandi have made a major breakthrough in development of piezoelectric material which would help in revolutionizing harnessing of mechanical energy in development of new innovation. The word ‘piezoelectric’ relating to or involving electric polarization resulting from the application of mechanical stress.
Piezoelectric materials can be used in floor tiles to generate electricity from human walking, or on roads, where the weight from the vehicles can power road lights and signals. Research may be helpful to generate electricity on minimum cost and can provide another means of energy generation.
A  study published by a team of IIT Mandi scholars comprising Raj Kiran, Saurav Sharma
Rajeev Kumar in collaboration with an IIT alumnus Anuruddh Kumar from the Hanyang University in North Korea claimed that the Piezoelectric material designed by them could increased the energy outputs many times to the existing practices in the field.
“Piezoelectric materials can generate electrical energy when a force is applied on them, and are thus extremely useful”, explains Dr. Rajeev Kumar. Such materials can, for example, be used in floor tiles to generate electrical energy from human walking, or on roads, where the weight from the vehicles can power road lights and signals. However, currently, the electrical energy produced by these materials is very low, which limits their applications in real life situations.
“We have developed a technique known as “graded poling” to enhance the power output of piezoelectric materials by more than 100 times”, says Dr. Rahul Vaish. The researchers have used numerical techniques to utilize multiple mechanical stresses – bending, compressive and tensile stresses at the top and bottom of the piezoelectric cantilever beams and shear stresses in the mid-section – in order to significantly improve the electrical output.
“The experimental implementation of graded poling is challenging at present”, says Dr. Rajeev Kumar. However, the results of this study and the enormous improvements possible through the graded poling technique offers incentive for researchers to develop actual piezoelectric designs that implement the graded poling technique so that the applications can be realised.
The team proposed a new technique to enhance the power output of piezoelectric materials by above 100-times as the study released in an engineering international journal recently. The researchers have conducted theoretical and numerical study in piezoelectric materials and developed a new technique to attain massive gain of the power harnessed improving the existing practices.
According to the scholars, Piezoelectric happened to be a type of material including quartz and Rochelle Salt which produce electricity when a mechanical force or stress is applied on them. They inventor converted mechanical energy and electrical energy, and are used in various commonly-used applications such as microphones, watches and ultrasound scanners. Currently electrical energy generated by the existing materials yield low generation limiting their applications in the field.
So far the scientists are developing methods to enhance the power output to increased the productivity of such materials to further improve the power generation from the vehicles and other means so that output of power generated could be in-cashed in form of streetlights, or in mobile phones etc.
The paper published by the team claimed to decipher importance of graded poling in piezoelectric materials.
It is worthwhile to mention that the piezoelectric effect was discovered in 1880 by French physicists and brothers Pierre and Paul-Jacques Curie in crystals of quartz, tourmaline and Rochelle salt.

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