increase in demand for piezoelectric (PZT) ceramic components for advanced underwater acoustic applications.
a ceramics producer and supplier, is noticing an
The company specializes in specialized PZT components
for both passive and active underwater acoustic sonar systems,
with a concentration on hemispheres, discs, blocks, and tubes.
“We’re seeing an increase in demand for larger-sized components,
which are critical in some technically challenging sonar applications,”
said Paul Turnbull,
CeramTec UK’s Piezoelectric & Dielectric Engineering Manager.
“This comprises discs with a diameter of 200 mm to 250 mm,
hemispheres larger than 150 mm,
and piezoceramic plates thicker than 25 mm.”
Technical ceramics development
CeramTec is a renowned creator, manufacturer, and supplier of technical ceramics,
with more than 10,000 products in its range.
Products from the company have been used in a variety of industries,
including medical engineering, automotive, electronics, energy, and space, to mention a few.
CeramTec’s portfolio isn’t entirely focused on 3D printing,
but the company stressed the need for product diversification
in its FY 2020 financials,
highlighting many upcoming worldwide 3D printing projects.
CeramTec has made several 3D printing-related announcements this year,
including the unveiling of their ROCAR 3D printing powder,
which is said to have qualities
similar to silicon carbide.
the company launched its CeramCreator tool to assist customers in streamlining their process chains and speeding up their quoting processes.
CeramTec successfully tested the cooling capabilities of its new
e-mobility power semiconductor module developed in collaboration with Fraunhofer IISB
this summer and worked with Airbus Defence & Space and the European Space Agency
to develop a new generation of ceramic sample containers for a space
experiment facility on the International Space Station.
Demand for PZT components is increasing.
Piezoelectricity is the electric charge that builds up in some solid materials, such as ceramics, when mechanical stress is applied.
Meeting the complicated needs and complexities of advanced sonar
technology applications, such as underwater acoustics,
requires PTZ components and materials to transform a mechanical effect into an electric signal.
Hydrophones and towed arrays, for example, require long, thin-wall tubes with a wall thickness ranging from 0.75 mm to more than 2 mm and a length of up to 30 mm.
From a production standpoint, the combination of long and very thin tubes is challenging, and CeramTec’s sonar technology team specializes in this area.
CeramTec uses its sophisticated manufacturing skills to manufacture a wide range of additional PTZ components, including Navy Type I, II, III, VI, and bespoke formulas.
These advancements are dependent on unique components,
transducer, and assembly requirements.
Diver detection arrays towed array
systems for discovering oil and gas deposits,
and piezoceramic plates for the manufacturing of bespoke 1-3 composites used in active
and passive sonar systems are examples of typical applications for the company’s PTZ components.
CeramTec is already seeing an increase in demand for larger-sized components,
which it sees as critical in a variety of technically challenging sonar applications.
Through its manufacturing facilities in
the United Kingdom and Germany,
the company thinks it is well-positioned
to address this market demand.
“In this market area, there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” Turnball said. “Our clients, with whom we have long-standing relationships, rely on us and our in-house R&D resources to produce solutions that meet their demands.”
PTZ components printed in 3D
The 3D printing industry is becoming increasingly
interested in piezoelectric components and materials, owing to the promise they represent for a wide range of businesses.
Nano Dimension, a major maker of 3D printers for additively made electronics (AMEs)
whose AME development method is based on piezoelectric 3D printing,
is one business at the forefront of this industry.
Researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
created a method for 3D printing piezoelectric materials that can transform mechanical energy into electric current.
These piezoelectric materials could
then be employed as transducers and sensors that utilised
electric signals to respond to pressure, vibrations, and impacts.
Jeonbuk National University scientists have 3D printed innovative wearable self-powered sensors that can harvest piezoelectric energy created by human activity.
The sensors might use this charge to
detect pressure inputs and transform them into signals if
they were arranged in an array.