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What is Ferroelectricity?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 23, 2024
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Ferroelectricity is an phenomenon that is created when materials with qualities that make them ideal for ferroelectric current to develop have been placed in close proximity exhibit. The resulting creation of electrical flow is referred to as the creation of a dipole moment. The term ferroelectricity is related to the concept of ferromagnetism, which has to do with the creation of a magnetic moment.

With ferroelectricity, the creation of a dipole moment is also a phenomenon created by using specific materials in a specific environment, with an eye toward controlling the direction of the electric dipoles. Several factors go into the process of creating ferroelectricity, and being able to harness the energy for constructive use. Here is some information about the conditions needed to produce ferroelectricity, as well as a couple of examples of how ferroelectricity is used today.

Materials that possess ferroelectric properties are physically attached to a lattice grid that can be used as a conductor. The materials in turn may be covered with a conductive material, which basically turns the combination of grid, material, and conductor in to an electric capacitor. The capacitor acts as the repository for the energy that is generated, as well as being the source of energy for use. This creates a situation where anything that alters the grid will also impact the materials, and result in a flow of current into and out of the capacitor.

There are a couple of factors that will impact the efficiency with which ferroelectricity is created. First, the temperature will have an effect of the polarization of the voltage that is created. Extremes in climate can inhibit the ability of the electricity to be properly stored on the lattice or grid. Second, force plays a role in the production of ferroelectricity, as well as the direction of the flow. This factor relates to the level of force that is applied to the capacitor. As with the temperature, extreme levels of force, either too much or too little, will decrease the efficiency of the capacitor to adequately store and discharge the ferroelectricity.

While the general public does not know a great deal about ferroelectricity, the fact is that just about everyone benefits from the use of this form of power. For example, modern computers often make use of ferroelectric RAM, which means that the memory capacity of the computer is enhanced by the use of ferroelectricity. The process for producing ferroelectricity also is employed in the medical field, particularly with equipment that is used to conduct ultrasound procedures.

Other common devices used in both the home and business work off the process of generating ferroelectricity. Among them are such things as heat sensors and motion detectors that are commonly used in fire safety and security systems. Even the automobile industry benefits from employing the physics of ferroelectricity, with some fuel injectors on diesel engines utilizing ferroelectricity in order to control the fuel mix in the engine.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including InfoBloom, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By namrata — On Dec 01, 2008

what is difference between paraelectric & ferrelectric materials as well as pyroelectric &ferroelectric materials?

By namrata — On Dec 01, 2008

we know that we can classify materials into three types conductor, insulator, semiconductor depending upon it's conductivity. similarly how can we classify the materials as ferroelectric, paraelectric, pyroelectric, nonferroelectric, ferrites,etc. depending upon which property?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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