Thermodynamic driving force in ferroelectric crystals with a rank-2 laminated domain pattern, and a study of enhanced electrostriction

George J. Weng, Daniel T. Wong

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37 Scopus citations


The thermodynamic driving force for domain growth in a rank-2 laminated ferroelectric crystal is derived in this article, and we used it, together with a homogenization theory, to study the issue of enhanced electrostrictive actuation recently reported by Burcsu et al. [2004. Large electrostrictive actuation of barium titanate single crystals. J. Mech. Phys. Solids 52, 823-846]. We derived this force from the reduction of Gibbs free energy with respect to the increase of domain concentration. It is shown that both the free energy and the thermodynamic force consist of three parts: the first arises from the difference in M0 and M1, the linear electromechanical compliances of the parent and product domains, respectively, at a given level of applied stress and electric field, the second stems from the electromechanical work associated with the change of spontaneous strain and spontaneous polarization during domain switch, and the third from the internal energy due to the distribution of polarizations strain and electric polarization inside the crystal. We prove that the first term is substantially lower than the second one, and the third one is identically zero with compatible domain pattern. The second one is, however, not exactly equal to the commonly written sum of the products of stress with strain, and electric field with polarization during switch, unless both domains have identical moduli in the common global axes. We also show that, with compatible domain patterns and when M1=M0, this driving force is identical to Eshelby's driving force acting on a flat interface due to the jump of energy-momentum tensor. Applications of the theory to a BaTiO3 crystal subjected to a fixed axial compression and decreasing electric field from the [0 0 1] state reveal that the crystal undergoes a three-stage switching process: (i) the 0→90° switch to form a rank-1 laminate, (ii) the 0→180° switch inside the 0° domain to form a laminate I with a concurrent 90°→-90° switch inside the 90° domain to form laminate II, creating a rank-2-laminated domain pattern, and (iii) finally the 90→180° switch. It is the exchange of stability between the 0, 90°, and 180° domains under compression and electric field that is the origin of the enhanced actuation. We illustrate these intrinsic features by showing the evolution of these domains, and demonstrate how the reported large actuation strain can be attained with a rank-2 laminate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-597
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Domain compatibility
  • Electrostriction
  • Ferroelectric single crystal
  • Gibbs free energy
  • Thermodynamic driving force


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