We have heard and seen many form of energies in our daily life such as: solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, tidal energy (eco-friendly and renewable), petroleum (non eco-friendly and non-renewable) one of the biggest form of energy present on our planet and such as many more. All the above energies are used according to their geographical area or there where the energy source is proportionally present. Like the wind energy is mostly used in coastal areas because of the high pressure of the air in that region. Mutually other energies are also used. Observing today’s condition of our planet Earth, we have an alarming situation for switching all our energy forms from non-renewable to renewable one. But the biggest problem with the renewable energy is that its resources are not present everywhere on the planet, like we cannot use tidal energy or geothermal energy or wind energy everywhere.
But think of an energy whose resource is everywhere present on this Earth. No other than but “piezoelectricity” or “piezoelectric effect”. This is an energy, which does not need any external natural resource like sunlight or wind to be produced. It just need mechanical stress as a resource to produce or assemble electric charge in certain solid materials such as crystals, certain ceramics and some biological matter such as bone , various proteins and DNA to the applied mechanical stress. To be more specific the “piezoelectric effect” results when a linear interaction occur between the mechanical and electrical states in the crystalline material and the material should not have inversion symmetry. The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure or stress. In simpler words whenever any stress occur on piezoelectric object then electric charge accumulates in that object due to about 0.1% of deformation of the original dimension. It is derived from the Greek word “PIEZEIN” which means to squeeze or press. The effect was discovered in 1880 but its applications came into force in late 90’s.
Piezoelectric effect has many applications and possibilities in future and can came out as the most used form of eco-friendly energy with its allover present resource. It just needs a piezoelectric material and mechanical pressure to produce electricity with endless resource. Many organizations are working on this concept and trying to improve its energy efficiency because currently it is bit less efficient and costly because of its precious and less available piezoelectric materials. The higher the piezoelectric element’s efficiency gets, the faster and bigger the conversions becomes. It’s is really very costly form of energy but one of the most safe and renewable form too. Piezoelectricity is yet not commercialized for producing electricity because of its cost and efficiency, but still due to its different properties and possibilities the concept lies in our daily life.
Some of its daily applications are:
Electric cigarette lighter: pressing the button causes a spring loaded small hammer to hit the piezoelectric material, which accumulates the electric charge and generate electric flow across a small spark gap, thus heating and igniting the gas and results into the flames.
Piezoelectric elements are also used in detection and generation of sonar waves.
These are used as sensors especially for high frequency sound in ultrasonic transducer for medical imaging also industrial nondestructive testing.
Piezoelectric microbalances are used as many sensitive chemical and biological sensors.
Piezoelectric pickups are used especially for electric guitars and other musical instruments, which converts the mechanical force into electric impulses.
Automotive: Air bag sensors, airflow sensors, audible alarms, fuel atomizer, keyless door entry, knock sensors.
Computer: Disc drivers, inkjet printers.
The energy is already in our daily life but by its more improved efficiency it can take the technology one more milestone ahead and can be proved one of the prominent sources of energy. This energy source is showing us a new possibility of effective energy utilization.
– Mr. Abhimanu Verma