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FAQ

FAQ

Below you will find a number of questions frequently asked of our representatives and some general answers to these questions. If you have a question regarding the use or application of a piezoelectric ceramic or piezo device, we encourage you to look over the below FAQs. If you do not see an answer to your question, please contact one of our representatives or submit your question using the below form.

 

General Inquiries

Does APC International offer design help, or perform design projects?

Yes, please contact an APCI representative to further discuss your interests.

 

Does APC International do contract transducer manufacturing, or build sub-assemblies?

Yes, please contact an APCI representative to further discuss your requirements.

 

Do you sell your piezoelectric powders?

APC has produced custom piezoelectric ceramics for over twenty-five years and we would like to be the one to manufacture the piezoelectric ceramics that meet your needs. However, if you would like to produce the piezoelectric ceramics on your own, APC offers many of its unprocessed piezoelectric materials for direct sale to customers. Please contact an APCI Representative for details.

 

I am seeking a piezoelectric material that is suitable for an energy harvesting application. Do you have any suggestions?

In recent years, energy harvesting, in the case of piezo materials, deriving energy from a kinetic energy source, has become the focus of much research. A quick search on the Internet reveals that piezo materials have been used to generate small amounts of power in prototypes, proof-of-concept projects, and small-scale production in a wide array of industries and applications. Various piezo materials are used in these applications and may include ceramics, films, and others. We at APC are very excited by the possibility of energy harvesting using piezoelectric ceramics. On the other hand, we do remain somewhat skeptical of the use of piezoelectric ceramics in large scale energy harvesting applications given the limited energy output of piezoelectric ceramics, the potentially cost prohibitive nature of using piezoelectric ceramics in any large scale energy harvesting application, and the fact that piezoelectric ceramics contain large quantities of reacted lead. When looking at piezoelectric ceramics for the purpose of energy harvesting, we remind our customers that while piezoelectric ceramics do provide high voltages they provide a very limited amount of power. The power produced by piezoelectric ceramics must be accumulated before it can be used to power any electronic device. APC has provided piezoelectric ceramics for some energy harvesting applications. In these instances, APC provides piezoelectric ceramic elements manufactured from lead zirconate titanate (PZT). Of the PZT materials that APC offers, we would recommend APC 850 as it tends to have the best combination of piezo properties for energy harvesting applications. We provide our piezoelectric ceramic elements only with an implied warranty of merchantability and with no warranty of fitness.

 

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Piezoelectric Ceramics in Your Electronic System

Is your solder RoHS Compliant?

Yes, please see our General Review of Lead Free Solder Options and the PDF you will need is attached.

 

Can you suggest any epoxies to bond to piezoelectric ceramics?

Yes, please see our recommended epoxies for general use in this technical update.

 

How do you solder to a piezoelectric ceramic without depoling it?

Please see our technical update on Connecting Electrical Leads to Piezo Elements.

 

Where are electrical leads commonly connected to pizeoelectric crystals?

Please see this .pdf for our answer.

 

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Custom Piezoelectric Elements

How much voltage can one safely apply to the ceramic to avoid depoling?

Soft PZT devices 5-7 volts/mill, hard PZT devices 15-20 volts/mill. Of course, operating temperature, stress and duty cycle can affect this.

 

How much power can one apply to hard PZT?

Typically 20 watts/square inch of radiating surface area.

 

How much movement will result for a piece of PZT?

The displacement = voltage applied x the d33 value.

 

Which material do you recommend for sensing applications?

Soft PZT, such as APC 850 material.

 

What are the safe operating temperatures for PZT materials?

Typically ½ of the Curie temperature, but duty cycle, applied voltage, and stress can affect the use temperature.

 

Do PZT materials age?

Yes, Hard PZT materials can age at a rate of up to 2 %/decade. Soft PZT materials can age at a rate up to 0.5%/decade, but soft materials, such as APC 850, are usually quite stable.

 

What is the typical surface roughness (Ra) of piezoelectric ceramics manufactured by APC?

The manufacturing processes utilized at APC yield a typical surface finish (Ra) of less than 1 um. Please contact your APC sales representative for more information.

 

Can these PZT materials be used at cryogenic temperatures?

The properties of PZT materials degrade at cryogenic temperatures. Consequently, the user will need to determine the suitability of the various materials in each application at the temperature of interest.

 

What is the maximum stress or strain a piezoelectric element can withstand?

PZT ceramics are brittle materials. They are good ceramic materials, and as such, they are much stronger in compression than they are in tension. The Young’s Modulus for APC 850 material is 6.3 X1010 N/m2. APC 850 material can safely withstand 5000 psi in tension. One can calculate the maximum strain allowed in tension from this data. We caution that the application of stress may affect a material by altering the normal condition for depoling.

 

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Standard Products & Devices

Can you recommend some connectors for your nebulizer boards?

APC International recently changed its standard nebulizer board to a single through board .110" by .02" pin. In light of this change, our recommended best practice will be to use a matching .110" by .02" connector instead of soldering directly to the board. (Suggested Connector - Faston .110" Series - Distributed by www.digikey.com).

 

Where do I connect DC voltage to a Nebulizer Board (50-1011.1)?

Please see this .pdf for our answer.

 

What is the thread size for the mounting hole on your Ultrasonic Cleaning Transducers (Cat #90-40XX)?

Thread Size = M10x1mm (3/8-24 will also fit).

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