Category: LTM News
February 26, 2016

Piezoelectric materials have existed for 40+ years, but are available only as fragile ceramics or as very expensive plastics. This restricts their use and limits design freedom.

Recently, Delft University of Technology’s group for Novel Aerospace Materials [TU Delft NovAM] reached a breakthrough developing a new piezo material: a structured composite of the ceramic piezo powder within a polymeric matrix. Inherently flexible, these “piezo plastics” are the ideal touch-sensitive material. This mix of components can be tuned for specific applications. With this brand new technology, the features of the piezo-plastic can be designed.

Moreover, last summer NovAM showed that this new piezo-plastic even works with lead-free base materials: the properties of the material for sensing applications outperforms all known lead containing composites. The material is highly flexible and can be used in the newly developed LTM products.

In detail, the material consists of a composite of nicely formed cubical particles of potassium lithium sodium niobate (KNLN) which are formed by a novel synthesis method. These particles are oriented into chains inside the matrix of polysiloxane (PDMS) using dielectrophoresis forming the new sensor material.

Moreover, LTM Partner Aito Touch is involved in the electronic side of these piezos, and their “haptic touch” technology adds further value to the LTM project.

Research team: Daniella Deutz, Neola Mascarenhas, Pim Groen

Corresponding Author: W.A.Groen@tudelft.nl