Processing of Novel Piezoelectric Transducers Via SFF
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Piezoelectric ceramics and ceramic/polYmer composites exhibiting conventional and novel designs were fabricated using Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) techniques. SFF is used to develop and optimize numerous transducer designs with simple and complex shapes without using any part specific tools or dies. Fused Deposition ofCeramics (FDC), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDMTM), and Sanders Prototyping (SPI) techniques were used to develop lead-zirconate-titanate (PZT) novel ceramic structures via: (1) direct fabrication and (2) indirect fabrication routes. For the direct fabrication route, green PZT ceramic preforms consisting of 50-55 volume fraction of powder with RU binders were prepared by FDC and used for piezocomposites. For the indirect route, SPI and FDMTM techniques were used build the polymer prototype or mold, and the ceramic parts were fabricated from the molds/prototypes using (a) lost mold and (b) soft tooling processes. Among the various ceramics and composites processed via the direct and indirect processes are dome shaped actuators, 3D honeycomb, ladder, annular, rods, tubes and various oriented PZT fiber structures. This presentation will review the processing routes for design, development and optimization of piezoelectric ceramics and ceramic/polYmer composites for transducer applications.