In-situ structural investigations of ferroelasticity in soft and hard rhombohedral and tetragonal PZT
Despite the technological importance of hard and soft PZT, Pb(Zr,Ti)O3, ceramics, the mechanisms of ferroelectric hardening and softening remain widely discussed in the literature. The hardening and softening phenomena have traditionally been investigated in relation with dielectric manifestations such as aging of the dielectric susceptibility and constriction of the polarization electric field hysteresis loop. Here, we present a systematic investigation of the ferroelectric and ferroelastic properties of soft and hard PZT in both the tetragonal and rhombohedral phases. A particular focus has been devoted to ferroelastic domain switching by characterizing the macroscopic mechanical constitutive behavior and in-situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction during compression. It is demonstrated that variation of the ordering state of point defects in PZT ceramics affects the switching behavior of both ferroelectric and ferroelastic domains under mechanical or electrical fields. Softening of the mechanical and electrical properties of originally hard PZT ceramics was conferred by quenching the materials from above the Curie temperature. The present findings are discussed with respect to the current understanding of hardening-softening transitions in ferroelectric materials.