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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/S31037/01
Title: Electric Field Structuring of Piezoelectric Fibre Arrays
Principal Investigator: Partridge, Professor IK
Other Investigators:
Wilson, Dr S Whatmore, Professor RW
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Ceranova Corporation National Physical Laboratory
Department: Sch of Industrial and Manufacturing Scie
Organisation: Cranfield University
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 October 2003 Ends: 30 September 2006 Value (£): 277,835
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The research programme detailed in this proposal aims to establish a new method for the assembly of piezoelectric array composites. This 'electric field structuring' technique is intended to permit assembly of a wider range of composite geometries than has hitherto been the case and will enable use of the latest high performance 'single crystal' fibres, which have been shown to have exceptional piezoelectric properties. It is inherently a low temperature process and the possibility also exists for direct integration of the arrays so-produced with device electronics, thereby addressing a problem that limits performance and currently presents significant manufacturing difficulties. The field structuring technique exploits the dielectrophoretic force, which is responsible for the electrorheological effect. Essentially a dispersion of particles (piezoelectric rods) in a dielectric fluid are exposed to a moderate electric field. Under suitable conditions the particles become polarised and exhibit a mutually attractive force. By moving the electrodes in relation to each other it is possible to drag the piezoelectric rods or fibres into a pre-determined configuration and they can then be fixed in place to form a composite array. In order to establish the technique two pathways need to be explored and both will have a significant influence on process development. The first concerns control of the 'polarizability signature' of the particles themselves through surface modification using dielectric coatings. The second area of investigation concerns control of the localised electric field intensity through effective configuration of the electrodes. It is anticipated that the knowledge gained through this programme of research will enable production of some novel, technologically useful materials and that the field structuring technique will be shown to be a valuable tool for assembly of fine-scale composites.
Key Findings
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cranfield.ac.uk