Part of the Wireless and mobile glossary:

Piezoelectricity, also called the piezoelectric effect, is the ability of certain materials to generate an AC (alternating current) voltage when subjected to mechanical stress or vibration, or to vibrate when subjected to an AC voltage, or both. The most common piezoelectric material is quartz. Certain ceramics, Rochelle salts, and various other solids also exhibit this effect.

A piezoelectric transducer comprises a "crystal" sandwiched between two metal plates. When a sound wave strikes one or both of the plates, the plates vibrate. The crystal picks up this vibration, which it translates into a weak AC voltage. Therefore, an AC voltage arises between the two metal plates, with a waveform similar to that of the sound waves. Conversely, if an AC signal is applied to the plates, it causes the crystal to vibrate in sync with the signal voltage. As a result, the metal plates vibrate also, producing an acoustic disturbance.

Piezoelectric transducers are common in ultrasonic applications, such as intrusion detectors and alarms. Piezoelectric devices are employed at AF (audio frequencies) as pickups, microphones, earphones, beepers, and buzzers. In wireless applications, piezoelectricity makes it possible to use crystals and ceramics as oscillators that generate predictable and stable signals at RF (radio frequencies).

This was last updated in August 2012
Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • smartphone sensor

    - A smartphone sensor is any one of a number of different types of sensing devices installed on a user's phone to gather data for various user purposes, often in conjunction with a mobile app. (WhatIs.com)

  • vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V communication)

    - Vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V communication) is the wireless transmission of data between motor vehicles. The goal of V2V communication is to prevent accidents by allowing vehicles to send ... (WhatIs.com)

  • predictive text

    - Predictive text is an input technology that facilitates typing on a mobile device by suggesting words the end user may wish to insert in a text field. (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Wireless and mobile

    - Terms related to wireless and mobile technology, including definitions about consumer mobile technology devices and communication technologies such as Wi-Fi, WiMAX and LTE.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About piezoelectricityPowered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.