Abstract

A new type of functionally graded (FG) piezoelectric bending actuator was proposed by the authors in the former study and the advantage of the new actuator over the traditional bimorph and unimorph actuators in internal stress distribution was illustrated by simulation results. In this study, functionally graded piezoelectric bending actuator was designed and fabricated. The material compositions with different dielectric and piezoelectric constants were selected from the Pb(Ni1/3Nb2/3)O3-PbZrO3-PbTiO3 (PNN-PZ-PT) family and used as the four layers in the new FG piezoelectric actuator. The piezoelectric constant and dielectric constant were graded oppositely in the thickness direction. Stress distribution of the FG piezoelectric actuator under external voltage was analyzed using finite element method (FEM) and the simulation results showed the stress discontinuity of the new actuator is smaller than that of traditional bimorph actuator. Durability of the fabricated FG piezoelectric actuators was measured in a vibration test and compared with that of the traditional bimorph actuator to evaluate the improvement of performance. The results showed that the durability of the FG piezoelectric actuators is much higher than that of the bimorph actuator.

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