We introduce a new compression test method for piezoelectric materials to investigate changes in piezoelectric properties under the compressive stress condition. Until now, compression tests of piezoelectric materials have been generally conducted using bulky piezoelectric ceramics and pressure block. The conventional method using the pressure block for thin piezoelectric patches, which are used in unimorph or bimorph actuators, is prone to unwanted bending and buckling. In addition, due to the constrained boundaries at both ends, the observed piezoelectric behavior contains boundary effects. In order to avoid these problems,
the proposed method employs two guide plates with initial longitudinal tensile stress. By
removing the tensile stress after bonding a piezoelectric material between the guide layers,longitudinal compressive stress is induced in the piezoelectric layer. Using the compression test specimens, two important properties, which govern the actuation performance of the piezoelectric material, the piezoelectric strain coefficients and the elastic modulus, are
measured to evaluate the effects of applied electric fields and re-poling. The results show that the piezoelectric strain coefficient d31 increases and the elastic modulus decreases when high voltage is applied to PZT5A, and the compression in the longitudinal direction decreases the
piezoelectric strain coefficient d31 but does not affect the elastic modulus. We also found that the re-poling of the piezoelectric material increases the elastic modulus, but the piezoelectric strain coefficient d31 is not changed much (slightly increased) by re-poling.