Lead Zirconate Titanate Oxide (PbZrxTi1−xO3 or PZT) is a piezoelectric material widely used as sensors and actuators. For microactuators, PZT often appears in the form of thin films to maintain proper aspect ratios. This paper is to present a simple and low-cost method to measure piezoelectric constant d33 of PZT thin films, which is a major challenge encountered in the actuator development. We use an impact hammer with a sharp tip to generate an impulsive force that acts on the PZT film. The impulsive force and the responding voltage are then measured to calculate the piezoelectric constant d33. The impulsive force has large enough amplitude so that a good signal-to-noise ratio can be maintained. Furthermore, the impulsive force has extremely short duration, so the discharge effect (i.e., the time constant effect) of the PZT circuit can be ignored. Preliminary testing on bulk PZT through this new method leads to two conclusions. Firstly, boundary conditions of the specimen are critical. In particular, the specimen must be securely fastened. Since the impulsive load only acts on a tiny area, loose boundary conditions can introduce spurious results from other piezoelectric constant d31. Secondly, size of the specimen is critical. Specimen of smaller size leads to more accurate measurements of the piezoelectric constant d33.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.