Research NewsMaterials Science

Shape-Changing Crystals Get Shiftier

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Science  28 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5308, pp. 1878
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5308.1878

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A talented family of materials has gained some even more gifted members. Piezoelectric crystals have the unique ability to swell or shrink when zapped with electricity, as well as give off a jolt of juice themselves when compressed or pulled apart. Now, by varying the recipe for these materials, researchers have found new ones that display an effect up to 10 times larger than that of current family members.