Transferring lead-free piezoelectric ceramics into application
After twenty years of partly quiet and ten years of partly enthusiastic research into lead-free piezoceramics there are now clear prospects for transfer into applications in some areas. This mimics prior research into eliminating lead from other technologies that resulted in restricted lead use in batteries and dwindling use in other applications. A figure of merit analysis for key devices is presented and used to contrast lead-containing and lead-free piezoceramics. A number of existing applications emerge, where the usage of lead-free piezoceramics may be envisaged in the near future. A sufficient transition period to ensure reliability, however, is required. The use of lead-free piezoceramics for demanding applications with high reliability, displacements and frequency as well as a wide temperature range appears to remain in the distant future. New devices are outlined, where the figure of merit suggests skipping lead-containing piezoceramics altogether. Suggestions for the next pertinent research requirements are provided. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.