Piezoelectric Uses in Our Everyday Applications

The piezoelectric effect is one of the most intriguing scientific concepts out there — the phenomenon of converting mechanical energy to electrical energy, and vice versa. Piezoelectricity relies on materials with a lattice structure — either naturally occurring quartzes, or human-made materials that mimic quartzes.

The piezoelectric effect is more than just a fascinating concept. Piezoelectricity powers a number of tools that are used every day in fields such as medicine, manufacturing, and even entertainment. 

Chances are, your industry already relies on piezoelectricity for some of its everyday applications. Likewise, your business could probably profit and grow by using more piezoelectric tools. Not sure what that entails? This article will dive into some of the ways piezoelectric tools are used in different sectors.


5 Important Uses of Piezoelectric Technology


Piezoelectric technology is easy to maintain and has virtually no moving parts. It is reliable and quiet. In many cases, piezoelectric tools are inexpensive and do not require batteries.

Piezoelectric tools have enormous potential when it comes to renewable energy. Since they are capable of transforming mechanical energy into electricity, piezo tools have been used to take the energy produced by simple movements — like footsteps — into energy that can be used for any purpose.

But piezoelectricity has applications reaching far beyond renewable energy. Here are some of the most important ways piezoelectricity is used in today’s workplaces.


1. Medical Imaging and Medical Applications


Piezoelectric tools are widely used in the healthcare sector. They have a number of different applications, from the sensors used to monitor patients in hospitals to the electronic wearables that patients can use day in and day out.

Piezoelectric tools are particularly useful for monitoring vital bodily functions like heart rate and breathing rate.

Piezoelectrics are uniquely suits to this process because they are capable of converting mechanical energy into electrical signals. Therefore, the mechanical energy produced by a moving body can easily be converted into data in the form of electrical signals, which can be recorded, stored, and shared.

Piezoelectric tools are also used in medical imaging. They help healthcare professionals to get insights into patients’ medical conditions and to keep track of their changing symptoms so that the best possible care can be provided at all times. 


2. Electronic Devices and Haptic Technology

Piezoelectricity can convert mechanical energy into electrical signals, as we have seen in the case of medical technology. That piezoelectric quality allows tools to convert the human body’s mechanical energy into electrical energy.

But this phenomenon can go in both directions. Piezoelectric actuators take electrical signals and turn them into mechanical energy. This is sometimes called reverse, or converse, piezoelectricity.

Piezoelectric actuators can power haptic devices that produce sensations in response to electrical signals. Fitness trackers make use of haptic technology, for example. When your fitness tracker vibrates to show that you’ve met a fitness goal, that’s an example of haptic technology at work.

Haptic technology can be powered by piezoelectric actuators. The actuators are able to convert electrical signals into the sensory experiences that make haptic devices successful with consumers.


3. Piezoelectric Sensors in Industrial and Commercial Uses


Piezoelectric tools power the vibration sensors that are widely used in industrial and commercial settings.

Piezoelectric tools are ideal for monitoring the vibrations emitted by industrial tools. That’s because they are able to convert the mechanical energy of machine vibrations into data in the form of electrical signals. 

Modern maintenance strategies are often built around a predictive maintenance strategy, which entails continually monitoring equipment for signs of defects or new faults. Every rotating machine produces vibrations while in operation. When a machine’s vibration patterns change, it’s often an early indication of a problem with the machinery.

Piezoelectric vibration monitors can alert maintenance teams to early signs of equipment faults. Most of the time, vibration monitoring gives these warnings weeks or months ahead of time, so that mechanics have plenty of time to get in and fix the issue before it turns into a major problem. Vibration monitors allow for non-destructive testing and improve safety throughout the industry.

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4. Music and Entertainment

Piezoelectric tools are widely used in the music and entertainment industry.

Piezoelectric pickups can amplify acoustic instruments, like guitars or violins.

Playing music creates vibrations at different frequencies, depending on the notes played. Piezoelectric technology can pick up on those vibrations and amplify them.

The piezoelectric crystals inside of the piezoelectric pickups automatically convert the vibrations produced by musical instruments into a changing voltage. This is an effective way to amplify acoustic and semi-acoustic instruments.

Piezoelectric transducers can also power speaker systems to amplify music in homes, restaurants, and other locations.


5. Safety and Security

Piezoelectricity has a number of potential applications for improving safety and security.

In hospitals and nursing homes, piezoelectric sensors can alert staff whenever somebody falls on the floor. The pressure of a fall against the piezoelectric sensors can automatically trigger an electrical signal that warns medical staff when there’s a problem that needs to be attended to.

Piezoelectric sensors can also track security in airports, or wherever there is the potential for danger. The sensors can track different weights and measure people’s gait with the goal of catching any abnormal movements that might indicate weapons.

In the military sphere, piezoelectric sensors can determine whether soldiers are in good physical condition before they are sent out to combat. Sensors can determine soldiers' weight, analyze their gait, and assess the kinds of movements people are capable of making.

Piezoelectric sensors can also help keep motorists safe on the highway. Sensors can alert drivers to unusual traffic patterns. In some cases, they may also be able to analyze weather conditions or check on the condition of the automobile.

There are virtually no limits to the potential for piezoelectric technology to make every aspect of our lives safer.


Power Your Piezoelectric Devices for a Variety of Applications

Virtually any business can be improved by the application of piezoelectric technology. No matter which sector you’re in, chances are good that piezo tools can grow your business and help you expand.

Interested in learning more about piezoelectric technology and its applications to your business? Visit us today to learn what we can do for you.

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