Piezoelectric Composites

MSI's piezoelectric composite materials are an excellent choice for sonar and ultrasound applications. They provide high electro-mechanical energy coupling to water, air, plastics, composite materials and other low acoustic impedance media. Transducers made from piezocomposite are highly efficient and inherently broadband.

Injection molded piezocomposites offer the following advantages over conventional monolithic piezoelectric ceramics:

Piezoelectric Materials
  • Wider bandwidth (Q < 3 typically)
  • Aperture shading for easier beampattern control
  • Higher receive and transmit response
  • Higher efficiency over a broad bandwidth
  • Superior piezoelectric uniformity
  • Design flexibility
  • Lower acoustic impedance
  • Durability and shock resistance to Navy Class A requirements
  • Lighter weight
  • Conformable to curved structures
  • Higher electromechanical coupling

Most of the piezocomposites that MSI manufactures for transducer applications are of the 1-3 type. These are made using MSI's patented piezoceramic injection molding process, which is capable of quickly producing arrays of piezoceramic pillars with the necessary dimensions and spacing.

MSI offers a range of injection molded and diced 1-3 piezoelectric composite materials with resonant frequencies between 50 kHz and 1 MHz. Resonant transducer designs below 50 kHz can be achieved with mass-loading techniques. MSI offers special piezocomposite materials capable of operating at static pressures as high as 200 MPa (30 kpsi) and temperatures from -40 to >100°C.

Injection Molded Piezoceramic Components

MSI's patented injection molding process is ideal for rapidly manufacturing large numbers of piezoceramic parts in complex shapes and configurations. For example, injection molding can simultaneously produce dozens of tubes in an array either open or closed end with lengths of up to 25mm and diameters smaller than 1mm. Tube wall thickness can be as small as 100μm.

The process offers a low-cost, shape-versatile alternative to the conventional machining and dicing methods now being used in various industries. Injection molding also offers consistently high quality components with a high degree of part-to-part uniformity. Ceramic injection molding can produce components with geometries ranging from flat plates and grooved arrays to serpentine structures and tubes.

Several lead zirconate titanate piezoelectric formulations are available in injection molded form, including: MSI-53 (DoD Type VI), MSI-51 (DoD Type III), MSI-81 (DoD Type I). A lead magnesium niobate-based piezoelectric material (MSI-32) is also available.