Virginia Patent of the Month – March 2021

Piezoelectric materials convert electrical energy into useful mechanical energy, or vice versa. Energy harvesting systems use an energy collector and piezoelectric material to convert and store it. Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc. has been designing an improved piezoelectric material with greater conversion efficiency.

Virginia Tech’s design uses a multi-layer material with polycrystalline components. These polycrystalline layers are arranged with different crystal orientations to create a 100 crystal direction material. Electrode layers are set up on either side of these crystal layers. These layers are positioned parallel to each other and the final product can be produced in whatever size is desired. This set up helps to reduce the external stresses that limit a piezoelectric materials conversion ability. The combination of the crystalline structure and electrode positioning increases the overall efficiency of the piezoelectric material, so we can have greater conversion and storage of energy.

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