Piezoelectricity (also called the piezoelectric effect) is the appearance of an electrical potential (a voltage, in other words) across the sides of a crystal when you subject it to mechanical stress (by squeezing it). The crystal becomes a kind of tiny battery with a positive charge on one face and a negative charge on the opposite face; current flows if we connect the two faces together to make a circuit.

  • In the reverse piezoelectric effect, a crystal becomes mechanically stressed (deformed in shape) when a voltage is applied across its opposite faces.
  • piezoelectric effect, in which compressing or stretching a material produces a voltage or where a voltage can cause a material to expand or contract

Piezoelectricity – the electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials (such as crystals, certain ceramics, and biological matter such as bone, DNA and various proteins) in response to applied mechanical stress.

The piezoelectric effect was discovered in 1880 by two French physicists, brothers Pierre and Paul-Jacques Curie, in crystals of quartz, tourmaline, and Rochelle salt (potassium sodium tartrate). They took the name from the Greek work piezein, which means “to press.
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