Some materials produce an electric charge with the application of mechanical stress. This generation of electric charge is known as the Piezoelectric effect or piezoelectricity. The piezoelectric effect is one of its kind; as the same material that generates an electric charge under mechanical stress, can generate mechanical stress when in contact with an electrical charge.
The explanation for the Piezoelectric Effect
The piezoelectric effect can be scientifically explained as the physical shifting of both negative and positive charge centers in a material under the influence of mechanical stress. Vice-versa, a piezoelectric material is vulnerable to stretching or compressing under the influence of an external electric source.
Discovery of the Piezoelectric Effect
Physicist brothers Jacques and Pierre Curie first discovered the piezoelectric effect in the 1800s. Their discovery can be attributed to their combined knowledge of pyroelectricity and of the structural and behavioral characteristics of crystals. Their demonstration of piezoelectricity in activities centered around the use of topaz, salt, cane sugar and quartz crystals among other materials. Piezoelectricity was further explored over the course of the two World Wars, bringing about the invention of the sonar device and sonar detection applications.
Natural and Manmade Piezoelectric Materials
Common examples of humanmade piezoelectric materials are barium titanate and lead zirconate titanate. Natural generators of piezoelectricity are cane sugar, topaz, and quartz among others. You need to find piezoelectric manufacturers depending on the application.
Modern Day Applications of the Piezoelectric Effect
The piezoelectric effect is integral for the sustained functions of multiple modern day inventions including but not limited to gas lighters and even ultrasonic transducers.