Zinc oxide nanowhisker (ZnOw) reinforced lead zirconate titanate (PZT) nanocomposites were prepared by a conventional solid state processing. The incorporation of ZnOw has effects on microstructures, electrical and mechanical properties of PZT/ZnOw nanocomposites. Microstructure studies show that ZnOw dispersed in the PZT matrix leads to the decline of grain size and change of fracture mode for the PZT/ZnOw nanocomposites. Mechanical properties of the nanocomposites are dependent upon the content of ZnOw nonlinearly and could be improved significantly with small addition of ZnOw. In particular, the compression and fracture strengths of the PZT/2wt.% ZnOw nanocomposites sintered at 1200°C are approximately 180% and 150% of the monolithic PZT, respectively. Electrical properties of the nanocomposites could be evidently adjustable with different additions of ZnOw. The new piezoelectric nanocomposites with good electrical and excellent mechanical properties are promising candidates for further applications.
Keywords: ZnO nanowhisker, nanocomposites, PZT, microstructure, electrical properties, mechanical properties, sintering process, combustion oxidation method
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