Hillbilly Tutorial on Piezoelectric effect?

In summary, the piezoelectric effect is the ability of certain crystals to generate an electric charge when subjected to mechanical stress, or to change shape when an electric charge is applied. This phenomenon is caused by the movement of electrically charged particles within the crystal. While it may seem strange, it does not violate any fundamental physical principles. The only unusual aspect is the mechanism by which it occurs, where dipole moments align with the applied strain. However, this does not seem unreasonable and does not violate charge or energy conservation.
  • #1
MonstersFromTheId
142
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"Hillbilly Tutorial" on Piezoelectric effect?

What exactly is it about certain crystals like quartz, Rochelle salt, and certain ceramic materials, that causes the piezoelectric effect?

How can just bending something produce a charge? How can putting a charge across it cause it to bend? That's just... weird.
Talk about "truth being stranger than fiction".
If it weren't for the fact that I've got a quartz watch on my wrist, if someone came to me and said "Ya know, theoretically, if you could make a crystal out of ordinary silicone and oxygen like this..., if you bent the crystal it'd produce a charge, and if you put a charge across it it'd bend." I'd tell 'em "Yeah, and if you could make dilithium crystals we could all travel faster than light too.", and yet...
 
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  • #2
This one has an answer!

Excerpted from: http://www.cis.yale.edu/ynhti/pubs/A5/vanwagner.html

This shape change actually affects the crystal at the atomic level causing a movement of ions, with their attendant electric charges. This motion of the electrically charged particles constitutes flow of electrons, or electricity.
 
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  • #3
MonstersFromTheId said:
If it weren't for the fact that I've got a quartz watch on my wrist, if someone came to me and said "Ya know, theoretically, if you could make a crystal out of ordinary silicone and oxygen like this..., if you bent the crystal it'd produce a charge, and if you put a charge across it it'd bend." I'd tell 'em "Yeah, and if you could make dilithium crystals we could all travel faster than light too.", and yet...
But why would you say that ? Accelerating to a speed faster than c is a violation of the first postulate of the special theory. What physical principle do you think the piezoelectric effect violates ?

It does not violate charge conservation. Straining a piezoelectric crystal does not actually "produce a charge". It merely produces a separation of the existing charges giving rise to a voltage. It does not violate energy conservation. You do not get this voltage for free - you have to do work to strain the crystal.

The only bizarre thing about piezoelectricity is in the mechanism. What happens in essense is that the (normally randomly oriented) molecular dipole moments line up along the direction of an applied strain field. This is a little hard to explain away simply, and I haven't really come across a good explanation/calculation anywhere, but it certainly does not seem all too unphysical to me. Also, it seems reasonable to me that all the piezoelectric crystals I know of are insulators.
 
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Related to Hillbilly Tutorial on Piezoelectric effect?

1. What is the Piezoelectric effect?

The Piezoelectric effect is a phenomenon in which certain materials generate an electrical charge in response to applied mechanical stress. This means that when a force is applied to the material, it produces an electric charge, and vice versa.

2. How does the Piezoelectric effect work?

The Piezoelectric effect works by the rearrangement of electric charges within certain materials, such as crystals or ceramics, in response to applied mechanical stress. This creates an electric potential difference across the material, which can be harnessed for various applications.

3. What are some real-world applications of the Piezoelectric effect?

The Piezoelectric effect has a wide range of applications, including in sensors and actuators for measuring and controlling physical quantities, in medical devices such as ultrasound technology, in energy harvesting for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, and in musical instruments such as guitars for producing sound.

4. How is the Piezoelectric effect related to Hillbilly Tutorials?

Hillbilly Tutorials may offer tutorials on the Piezoelectric effect as it is a scientific concept that can be easily understood and applied by individuals with a non-scientific background. The tutorials may explain the concept in a simplified manner, using relatable examples and language.

5. Are there any limitations to the Piezoelectric effect?

Yes, there are some limitations to the Piezoelectric effect. The amount of electric charge produced is dependent on the amount of mechanical stress applied, and there is a limit to how much stress a material can handle before it becomes permanently damaged. Additionally, the effect is only observed in certain materials and is not present in all substances.

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