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PIEZOELECTRICITY: Opening the doors to a Greener World

15 Oct '23
3 min read

Air pollution refers to the release of pollutants into the air that are detrimental to human health and the planet as a whole. Air pollution accounts for an estimated 4.2 million deaths per year due to stroke, heart diseases, lung cancer and chronic respiratory disease. One of major causes of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels, which almost accounts to 3.2 million deaths per annum. Most electricity today is generated by burning fossil fuels and producing steam which is then used to drive a steam turbine, that, in turn, drives an electrical generator. So, to decrease air pollution, the best way is to reduce the use of fossil fuels, not only because there will be less emissions of harmful substances but also because fossil fuels are non-renewable and exhaustible over a period of time.

To reduce the use of fossil fuels, we need to find alternative sources of energy. Renewable or non-conventional sources of energy are one of the best alternatives. So, the need of the hour is to introduce any other renewable and pollution free energy source. Piezoelectricity can be one of the best alternatives to be implemented to fulfill such energy demand. Piezoelectricity is the electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials (such as crystals, certain ceramics, and biological matters such as bones, DNA and various proteins) in response to applied mechanical stress. The word "Piezo" is derived from the Greek word Piezo, which means to squeeze or press. 

Piezoelectricity might sound unfamiliar but it is surprising to know that it is commonly used in as portable camping stoves, gas grills, lighters, quartz watches, etc. So, this can be exploited in a number of useful applications out of which generation of electricity is all what we need for energy development. Piezoelectricity is directly proportional to the mechanical stress applied. We can think about using even very little mechanical pressure to produce electricity. For implementing the piezoelectric effect at global and public level, one can imagine the large pressure exerted on roads by vehicles running on it. We can introduce the piezoelectric effect in construction of roads and bridges. The electrical energy generated can not only be used to light up the street lights but also can act as a great source of energy which can be widely used further. 

The versatility of piezoelectric material can be highlighted from the fact that they can be integrated in different devices and structures. Also the point that they require low maintenance due to absence of any moving parts makes them more efficient. From my point of view, piezoelectric materials are apt for being used in some small scale projects owing to the fact that they produce low energy outputs which may not be sufficient for some applications. The idea of piezoelectric materials can also be implemented in keyboards, phone screens, floors of public places, benches in schools, playgrounds, sport arenas, stadia, etc. Thus, piezoelectric materials can be used to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel and could also be our future resource and help in making the world a greener and cleaner place. 

Category : Technology


Written by Varsha Rao