in small pieces.
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To put it in a nutshell: The idea of piezo stack actuators is as simple as it is effective: Piezo are made of electric active material. The length of the piezoelectric stack is directly controlled by applying an electrical voltage. When a solid piezoelectric body expands, immediate reaction take place which can provide strong, fast, and precise actuation. This is named indirect piezoelectric effect.
The piezo effect offers an excellent opportunity to innovate actuators where the performance of electromagnets has already been exhausted. Piezos are applied for many applications. From a dynamic point of view: Piezos are used from static positioning to ultrasonics. From a point of mechanical forces: Piezo actuators are in operation covering a range from grams to tons of mechanical cal load. And piezo actuation is famous for the highest known resolution of positioning up to the nm-range.
Conversely, a piezo stack actuator generates electrical voltages when forces are applied. Thus piezo stacks are also ideal devices to design sensors, energy harvester which provide electrical power for low power demand. These generators can convert vibrations directly to electrical power. Historically, this phenomena is named direct piezoelectric effect. It was firstly detected that certain materials create voltages when the body is exposed to mechanical stress.
The enormous usefulness of piezo lies in the direct coupling of electrical and mechanical energy in a simple piece of material.
Precision: Piezoelectric actuators enable ultra-precise devices that achieve accuracies of atoms.
Miniaturization: They are much smaller at same force and faster than electromagnets.
Speed: The piezoelectric effect is characterized by a high speed. The electro-mechanical conversion is directly related to the construction of the electric field in the material.
Enormous acceleration: The acceleration involved is huge and values of several thousand g can be obtained.
Low Power Consumption: Because of their very high electrical insulation resistance piezoelectric actuators have low power consumption when keeping a commanded position. In contrast, electromagnetic drives consume on hold position with power consuming large coil currents.
Performance made of Passion.