Piezoelectric Magic

One of nature's wonders, piezoelectricity is the phenomenon of electricity produced by the squeezing or stretching of certain materials.

SchemaPiezopiezo shears

Piezoelectric materials are predominantly crystals and ceramics, often abundant and economical. Quartz is the most common and well known. First applied in the invention of sonar, the piezoelectric effect is at the heart of many modern technologies, such as radio, cell phones, quartz watches, phonogragh needles and the sparking of disposable lighters.


Massive Power Potential

Voltage produced by piezoelectrics is proportional to pressure applied. Five hundred pounds of pressure applied to one cubic centimeter of quartz can produce over 12,500 volts.

In a gas grill starter, the popping noise you hear is a little spring-loaded hammer hitting a crystal
and generating thousands of volts across the faces of the crystal.
(from howstuffworks.com)

Wikipedia article

Home How it Works R&D