Piezo Stack Under Spring Mass Load

piezo stack theory
Spring mass load

All real mechanical system has mass and spring characteristics. In a dynamic analysis the inertia forces must be considered with a mass dependent term. The simplest case is a stack itself in highly dynamic operation. In the next differential equation of motion the Newton’s law are expressed in a lumped parameter model:

Fp is the piezoelectric force controlled by the voltage, x is the displacement, m the effective inertial mass of the piezo, and k is a term for damping.

This equation represents a damped spring-mass system, which will perform damped oscillation when excited by a voltage step function. The following data are exemplarily presented for a Piezotechnik PB5.8 stack:


·   fres 76 kHz

·   meff 3,4 grams

·   stiffness k 6 000 N/m equivalent to a effective Young’s modulus of 44 GPa

·   damping parameter b 150 Ns/m


It is well known that this dynamic system have a resonance effect and will overshoot and ring when excited with a voltage step function. The actuator has a large initial acceleration a0

In the chosen example the initial acceleration of the stack a0 is 250 000 m/s2 or 25 500 g. In a practical case there will be a load mass and resonance frequency would be reduced of course.

Rise time for spring-mass system is usually approximated by tr = 1/3fres. In the given example t = 5 ms.  Please notice, that for faster dynamic operation a dynamic overshoot reaction occurs.  An overshoot over the maximum static displacement cause internal stress in the ceramics in tensile direction. As ceramics is sensitive to tensile stress compensation by pre-stress is required to avoid cracking and failure of the piezo. Those pre-stress mechanism cause mass effort and will reduce reaction speed of the actuator.  

These physics principles has to be taken in consideration when designing a piezo stack actuation mechanism for strong, fast and precise systems.