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Enhanced Piezoelectric and Ferroelectric Properties of Nb2O5 Modified Lead Zirconate Titanate-Based Composites


  • S. Swartz—contributing editor

  • This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 50742007, 50872159, and 50972014), the National High-Technology Research and Development Program of China (Grant 2007AA03Z103), the National Defense Fund (Grant 401050301), and the Key Laboratory Foundation of Sonar Technology of China (Grant 9140C24KF0901).

†Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed. e-mail: and


The addition of ZnO nanowhiskers (ZnOw) in lead zirconate titanate (PZT) matrices results in reinforced composite materials but deteriorates their electrical properties. In this study, novel piezoelectric PZT/ZnOw composites modified with Nb2O5 were successfully fabricated using solid-state sintering method. The experimental results showed that the addition of 0.5 wt% Nb2O5 resulted in highly dense and homogenous PZT composites after sintering at 1150°C, with good piezoelectric and ferroelectric properties similar to pure PZT, specifically piezoelectric constant d33=665 pC/N, electromechanical coupling factor kp=0.7, relative dielectric constant ɛ=5048, and remnant polarization Pr=30.2 μC/cm2. The “soft effect” of Nb5+ ions, reflected in the improvement of the aforementioned properties, is attributed to the accommodation of Nb5+ ions at the B sites of the lattice of PZT. Compared with the PZT/ZnOw reinforced composites, the mechanical properties were slightly improved by adding 0.5 wt% Nb2O5, where flexural strength σf of 128 MPa and fracture toughness KIC of 1.46 MPa·m1/2 were measured.