3, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, United States
Piezoelectric and electro-active composites are investigated as new generation self-powered energy harvesting devices for a wide range of applications from the industrial to the medical field while maintaining high reliability, durability and sensitivity over wide range of frequencies. Three-phase piezoelectric composites are economically more feasible and non-toxic. The criteria that govern the applicability of piezoelectric composites depend upon electromechanical properties such as capacitance, impedance, conductance, resistance and dielectric constant. The desired electrical properties may be enhanced by including electro-active and conductive inclusions which play a vital role in enhancing the piezoelectric and dielectric characteristics of the composites. The present work investigates the role of graphene and zinc oxide inclusions distributed in an epoxy matrix to fabricate three-phase composites and studies the influence of several factors on the effective electromechanical properties of the composites. The materials under investigation will be comprised of Zinc Oxide, Epofix Cold-Setting Embedding Resin and Graphene, i.e. the electro-active, epoxy and conductive inclusions respectively. Our works seeks to understand the fabrication process parameters and suggest the inclusion of graphene enhancing piezoelectric properties which can be measured using the impedance analyzer and the scanning electron microscope (SEM).