Recently, vibrotactile wearables have received much attention in fields such as medicine, psychology, athletics and video gaming. The electrical components presently used to generate vibration are rigid; hence, the design and creation of ergonomical wearables are limited. Significant advances in piezoelectric components have led to the production of flexible actuators such as piezoceramic lead zirconate titanate (PZT) film. To verify the functionality of PZT actuators for use in vibrotactile wearables, the factors influencing the electromechanical conversion were analysed and tested. This was achieved through theoretical and experimental analyses of a monomorph clamped-free structure for the PZT actuator. The research performed for this article is a three-step process. First, a theoretical analysis presents the equations governing the actuator. In addition, the eigenfrequency of the film was analysed preceding the experimental section. For this stage, by applying an electric voltage and varying the stimulating electrical characteristics (i.e., voltage, electrical waveform and frequency), the optimum operating conditions for a PZT film were determined. The tip displacement was measured referring to the mechanical energy converted from electrical energy. From the results obtained, an equation for the mechanical behaviour of PZT films as actuators was deduced. It was observed that the square waveform generated larger tip displacements. In conjunction with large voltage inputs at the predetermined eigenfrequency, the optimum operating conditions for the actuator were achieved. To conclude, PZT films can be adapted to assist designers in creating comfortable vibrotactile wearables.
Journal of Electronic Materials – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 2, 2018
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