Experimental investigation on ferroelectric and flexoelectric properties of poly(vinylidenefluoride-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) copolymer films
Lee, Ho Joon
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The electric polarization induced by the non-uniform deformation, i.e. the direct flexoelectric effect, in poly(vinylidene fluoride-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) has been investigated. The ferroelectric properties of PVDF-HFP copolymer films were measured. The primary goal of the research in this thesis is to understand the properties of both ferroelectricity and flexoelectricity of PVDF-HFP copolymer films under different circumstances. It is well known that PVDF homo polymer mainly has three phase structures, &agr; phase (TGTG'), β phase (TTTT), and γ phase (TTTGTTTG'), depending on the chain conformations as the trans (T) or the gauche (G) linkages. Only β phase and γ phase possess piezoelectric responses. The direct flexoelectric effect can exist in any phase. This is because the inhomogeneous deformation can break the inversion symmetry and induce electric polarization even in non-piezoelectric crystalline materials. However, in PVDF-HFP copolymer, the molecular chain conformations of PVDF are modified by HFP monomers. Although the mixture of two polymers can be regarded as a random amorphous structure, their molecular chain conformations may splay to different directions if a non-uniform deformation is applied to them. Therefore both ferroelectric and flexoelectric properties of PVDF-HFP copolymers might be significantly different from that of PVDF homo polymers. In our experimental studies, the unaligned PVDF-HFP copolymer films were initially synthesized by using the solution polymerization process and then characterized via X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). The flexoelectric coefficients of those polymer films were then measured. Both the enhanced direct flexoelectric effect and the ferroelectric-like behavior were observed in the polymer films. However, the flexoelectric coefficient of PVDF-HFP copolymers we measured is almost 50% smaller than that of the unaligned PVDF homo films. The experimental results also demonstrate that the ferroelectric-like behavior in PVDF-HFP copolymers under different conditions might be induced by their spatially distributed space electric charges. The measured flexoelectric coefficient (&mgr;13) and the piezoelectric coefficient (d13) can also give us valuable information about the property degradation, or aging phenomena, in polymer films and the related polymer devices.