Piezoelectric fibers are widely used in composites for actuator and sensor applications due to its ability to convert electrical pulses into mechanical vibrations and transform the returned mechanical vibrations back into electrical signal. They are beneficial for the fabrication of composites especially 1-3 composites, active fiber composites (unidirectional axially aligned PZT fibers sandwiched between interdigitated electrodes and embedded in a polymer matrix) etc., with potential applications in medical imaging, structural health monitoring, energy harvesting, vibration and noise control. However, due to the brittle nature of PZT fibers, maximum strain is limited to 0.2% and cannot be integrated into flexible sensor applications.
In this contribution, a new approach to develop flexible ferroelectric hybrid fibers for soft body shape sensing is investigated. Piezoelectric particles incorporated in a polymer matrix and extruded as fiber, 0-3 composite in fibrous form is studied. Commercially obtained calcined PZT and calcined BaTiO3 powders were used in the unsintered form to obtain flexible soft condensed matter ferroelectric hybrid fibers. The extruded fibers were subjected to investigation for their electromechanical behavior as a function of electric field. The hybrid fibers reached 10% of the maximum strain and polarization of the sintered counterpart.