Summer Undergraduate Research Mentored Experience

Return to list

Dr. Ramana Chintalapalle

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Synthesis and characterization of lead-free calcium (Ca) and cerium (Ce) co-doped barium titanate

Preferred major field of study or minimum required skills

Materials Science and Engineering or Mechanical Engineering

Note to International Students: Due to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) projects national origin is restricted to Mexico and Canada.

Scholarly significance/intellectual merit

Dr. Ramana’s research program at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is focused towards the fabrication, testing, property measurement and evaluation of novel, cost effective lead-free perovskite based materials for piezoelectric energy harvesting devices. The challenging goal of the project is to understand the fundamental scientific merits and to realize the new lead (Pb) free piezoelectric ceramics based on Ba(1-x)CaxCe(1-y)TiyO3 (BCCT). Interest in lead-free ferroelectric piezoelectric materials has surged over the years owing to the need to find a potential replacement of the commercial piezoelectric-lead zirconate titanate (PZT) based sensors and actuators, which is facing global restrictions due to toxic lead. Perovskite lead-free piezoelectrics are potentially safe and environment friendly. Thus this project is tailored to design efficient BCCT ceramics for enhanced energy harvesting by utilizing the key idea of co-doping to modify the Ba-titanate. Improved piezoelectric response is expected with calcium (Ca) and cerium (Ce) co-doping in BaTiO3 lattice.

Research question(s)

  1. What are the structural and chemical changes associated with Ca and Ce co-doping into perovskite BaTiO3?
  2. What is the effect of Ca and Ce content on mechanical and electrical properties of BCCT piezoelectric sensors?
  3. The scientific question in this case is whether the Ca and Ca co-doping can be a Curie temperature modifier or not?
  4. What is the optimal composition for improved performance.

Methods/techniques/instruments to be learned/utilized

Students will use a wide range of experimental methods and analytical techniques; they will be trained to synthesize ceramics and to characterize the microstructure of BCCT samples through X-ray diffraction (XRD), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and Raman spectroscopy. Students will also learn the methods for electrical characterization.