The most popular configuration for piezoelectric-polymer composites has pillars of piezoelectric ceramic supported by a polymer matrix and material with this structure is now widely available commercially. However, it has significant disadvantages for use in multilayer devices for non-mass-loaded operation below approximately 50 kHz. An alternative configuration is therefore reported here, in which interconnected fingers of piezoelectric ceramic surround polymer plates. This can be termed 3-1 connectivity, since the piezoceramic is fully connected in three dimensions and the polymer in only one. The configuration has been found to have significant manufacturing advantages which feed through to enhanced performance compared with practical 1-3 connectivity multilayer devices. For many potential applications, high-power operation is required, and it is unclear if the multilayer structure has sufficient internal strength to maintain its integrity at high strains. Therefore, an investigation has been carried out into alternative pre-stressing component designs. These comprise back and front stainless steel plates of different shapes, connected by a number of stainless steel rods. In this paper, the fundamental performance of a multilayer device is illustrated with electrical impedance and surface displacement measurements in air, without pre-stressing. Then measurements are reported from three different clamping configurations. It is shown that good results can be achieved at spot frequencies with a suitable clamp, but that unsuitable clamps prevent even this, and broadband performance is unlikely to be achieved easily.
- Multilayer transducers
- Low frequency