- Computational Modeling of Domain Switching Effects in Piezoceramic Materials -- A Micro-Macro Mechanical Approach (2005)
- Within the last decades, a remarkable development in materials science took place -- nowadays, materials are not only constructed for the use of inert structures but rather designed for certain predefined functions. This innovation was accompanied with the appearance of smart materials with reliable recognition, discrimination and capability of action as well as reaction. Even though ferroelectric materials serve smartly in real applications, they also possess several restrictions at high performance usage. The behavior of these materials is almost linear under the action of low electric fields or low mechanical stresses, but exhibits strong non-linear response under high electric fields or mechanical stresses. High electromechanical loading conditions result in a change of the spontaneous polarization direction with respect to individual domains, which is commonly referred to as domain switching. The aim of the present work is to develop a three-dimensional coupled finite element model, to study the rate-independent and rate-dependent behavior of piezoelectric materials including domain switching based on a micromechanical approach. The proposed model is first elaborated within a two-dimensional finite element setting for piezoelectric materials. Subsequently, the developed two-dimensional model is extended to the three-dimensional case. This work starts with developing a micromechanical model for ferroelectric materials. Ferroelectric materials exhibit ferroelectric domain switching, which refers to the reorientation of domains and occurs under purely electrical loading. For the simulation, a bulk piezoceramic material is considered and each grain is represented by one finite element. In reality, the grains in the bulk ceramics material are randomly oriented. This property is taken into account by applying random orientation as well as uniform distribution for individual elements. Poly-crystalline ferroelectric materials at un-poled virgin state can consequently be characterized by randomly oriented polarization vectors. Energy reduction of individual domains is adopted as a criterion for the initiation of domain switching processes. The macroscopic response of the bulk material is predicted by classical volume-averaging techniques. In general, domain switching does not only depend on external loads but also on neighboring grains, which is commonly denoted as the grain boundary effect. These effects are incorporated into the developed framework via a phenomenologically motivated probabilistic approach by relating the actual energy level to a critical energy level. Subsequently, the order of the chosen polynomial function is optimized so that simulations nicely match measured data. A rate-dependent polarization framework is proposed, which is applied to cyclic electrical loading at various frequencies. The reduction in free energy of a grain is used as a criterion for the onset of the domain switching processes. Nucleation in new grains and propagation of the domain walls during domain switching is modeled by a linear kinetics theory. The simulated results show that for increasing loading frequency the macroscopic coercive field is also increasing and the remanent polarization increases at lower loading amplitudes. The second part of this work is focused on ferroelastic domain switching, which refers to the reorientation of domains under purely mechanical loading. Under sufficiently high mechanical loading, however, the strain directions within single domains reorient with respect to the applied loading direction. The reduction in free energy of a grain is used as a criterion for the domain switching process. The macroscopic response of the bulk material is computed for the hysteresis curve (stress vs strain) whereby uni-axial and quasi-static loading conditions are applied on the bulk material specimen. Grain boundary effects are addressed by incorporating the developed probabilistic approach into this framework and the order of the polynomial function is optimized so that simulations match measured data. Rate dependent domain switching effects are captured for various frequencies and mechanical loading amplitudes by means of the developed volume fraction concept which relates the particular time interval to the switching portion. The final part of this work deals with ferroelectric and ferroelastic domain switching and refers to the reorientation of domains under coupled electromechanical loading. If this free energy for combined electromechanical loading exceeds the critical energy barrier elements are allowed to switch. Firstly, hysteresis and butterfly curves under purely electrical loading are discussed. Secondly, additional mechanical loads in axial and lateral directions are applied to the specimen. The simulated results show that an increasing compressive stress results in enlarged domain switching ranges and that the hysteresis and butterfly curves flatten at higher mechanical loading levels.