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  1. Harry Tuller1,
  2. Ytshak Avrahami2

Published Online: 15 JUL 2002

DOI: 10.1002/0471216275.esm027

Encyclopedia of Smart Materials

Encyclopedia of Smart Materials

How to Cite

Tuller, H. and Avrahami, Y. 2002. Electroceramics. Encyclopedia of Smart Materials. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

  2. 2

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2002


Ceramics have traditionally been admired for their mechanical, chemical, and thermal stability; however, their unique electrical, optical, and magnetic properties have become of increasing importance in many key technologies including communications, energy conversion and storage, electronics, and automation. Such materials are now classified as electroceramics as distinguished from other functional ceramics such as advanced structural ceramics. It is the combination of the traditional ruggedness of conventional ceramics and the exceptional functionality of select electroceramic materials that make electroceramics particularly attractive as smart materials and as components of smart systems.

Electroceramics, exhibit a wide range of properties that make them ideally suited to serve as transducers in the form of sensors and/or actuators. In some cases, as in the PTCR self-regulated heater, the device is inherently smart and requires no microprocessor to respond appropriately to a stimulus. In the vast majority of cases, a microprocessor is needed for the appropriate feedback. Here, the start of a trend toward integrating electroceramics into microelectronic and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) will hasten the development of self-contained miniaturized smart systems. The microhotplate gas sensor array represents a graphic example. We emphasized transduction to and from electrical forms of energy because this is what most signal handling systems need to operate. This is beginning to change, particularly as all optical systems develop. Here again, given the electro-optic, piezo-optic, thermo-optic, magneto-optic effects that are exhibited by electroceramics, this group of materials should make important contributions to smart optical systems.


  • Smart systems;
  • Electromechanical actuators;
  • Actuator materials;
  • Relationships;
  • Electrorestrictive behavior;
  • Material systems;
  • Single crystals;
  • Thermal systems;
  • Smart chemical systems;
  • Optical materials