Optimized Preparation of Elastically Soft, Highly Piezoelectric, Cellular Ferroelectrets from Nonvoided Poly(ethylene Terephthalate) Films


  • This study was partly financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) within the collaborative project Ge 945/8-2 (Potsdam) and Mu 1336/11-2 (Erlangen).


Electrically charged cellular polymer films can exhibit very high piezoelectric activity and are therefore more and more often employed in advanced electromechanical and electro-acoustical transducers. In this paper, we report an optimized sequence of steps for preparing such ferroelectrets from commercial nonvoided poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PETP) films by means of foaming with CO2, biaxial mechanical stretching, controlled void inflation, and bipolar electric charging. The nonvoided PETP films were foamed with supercritical CO2 at a suitably high pressure and subsequently annealed for stabilization. The cellular foam structure was further optimized by means of well-controlled biaxial stretching in a commercial stretcher and sometimes subsequent inflation in a pressure chamber. Bipolar electric charging of the internal voids was achieved through the application of high electric fields in an SF6 atmosphere. The new optimized PETP ferroelectrets exhibit quite large piezoelectric coefficients up to almost 500 pC N–1, for which unusually low elastic stiffnesses of only around 0.3 MPa are essential. The PETP-foam ferroelectrets possess unclamped thickness-extension resonance frequencies between approximately 120 and 250 kHz, and are thus highly suitable for several established as well as novel ultrasonic-transducer applications.