State-of-the-art Active Fibre Composites (AFC) are piezoelectric actuators made of one layer of unidirectionally oriented lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramic fibres with a diameter between 130 and 250 µm. The fibres are contacted through two interdigitated electrode (IDE) layouts placed on both layer surfaces. The IDE are usually printed on a polymer film which is also used to protect the fibres. The layup is impregnated with epoxy resin.
One drawback of current AFC design is the electrodes which contact the fibres in only two small surfaces, namely the top and bottom side of the fibres, thus introducing the electric field inhomogeneously. AFC with through-the-thickness finger electrodes were developed in the present work: finger electrodes are made of the conducting polymer polypyrrole/p-toluene sulfonic acid and are electrochemically polymerised directly around the piezoceramic fibres.
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