Modeling and simulation of a lead-free active structural fiber for multifunctional composites

Linda S Vera, University of Texas at El Paso


Piezoelectric materials are widely used in a many areas of science and technology due to their unique electromechanical properties. The transformation of mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa caused by the piezoelectric effect has led to the development of piezoelectric sensor devices and actuators used in accelerometers, pressure and vibration meters, micropositioning devices, ultrasound generators, structural health monitoring, etc. The most used piezoelectric material to this day is lead zirconate titanate PbZrO3-PbTiO3 (PZT) because of its high piezoelectric coefficient and Curie temperature, which allows it to be used in a more wide variety of applications. However, the commercial manufacture and application of PZT represents serious health hazards for humans because of its lead-based nature. The rising need to reduce environmental contamination by lead-based substances has created the urgent need to develop lead-free piezoelectric materials to replace these hazardous materials. The present work describes the development of a lead-free novel active structural fiber that can be embedded in a composite material in order to perform sensing and actuation, while having a load bearing functionality. The multifunctional composite consists of a carbon core fiber with a piezoelectric coating of barium titanate (BaTiO3) embedded into a polymer matrix. A one-dimensional micromechanics model of the piezoelectric fiber will be used to characterize the possibility of constructing a structural composite lamina with high piezoelectric coupling, as well as a three-dimensional modeling of the active structural fiber to estimate the effective electroelastic properties of the multifunctional composite.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Vera, Linda S, "Modeling and simulation of a lead-free active structural fiber for multifunctional composites" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1583956.