Piezoelectric Effect

  • For the first time, scientists have reported evidence of piezoelectric effect in liquids.
  • Piezoelectric effect is the ability of certain materials to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress.
  • In the piezoelectric effect, a body develops an electric current when it is squeezed. The piezoelectric effect was discovered in 1880, in quartz.
    • Quartz is the most famous piezoelectric crystal.
    • Quartz is silicon dioxide (SiO2). The quartz crystal consists of silicon and oxygen atoms at the four vertices of a three-sided pyramid; each oxygen atom is shared by two pyramids.
  • It is used in this capacity in analog wristwatches and clocks. Such crystals are also used in cigarette lighters, electric guitars, TV remote controls, audio transducers etc.
  • The Piezoelectric effect has only been expected in solids thus far because the body being squeezed needs to have an organised structure, like pyramids of quartz.
    • Liquids don’t have such structure. Instead, they take shape of their container.
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