Piezoelectric materials for sustainable building structures : Fundamentals and applications

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

104 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-25
Journal / PublicationRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Online published13 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


Piezoelectric materials are capable of transforming mechanical strain and vibration energy into electrical energy. This property allows opportunities for implementing renewable and sustainable energy through power harvesting and self-sustained smart sensing in buildings. As the most common construction material, plain cement paste lacks satisfactory piezoelectricity and is not efficient at harvesting the electrical energy from the ambient vibrations of a building system. In recent years, many techniques have been proposed and applied to improve the piezoelectric capacity of cement-based composite, namely admixture incorporation (e.g. lead zirconate titanate, barium zirconate titanate, carbon particles, and steel fibers) and physical treatments (e.g. thermal heating and electrical field application). The successful application of piezoelectric materials for sustainable building development not only relies on understanding the mechanism of the piezoelectric properties of various building components, but also the latest developments and implementations in the building industry. Therefore, this review systematically illustrates research efforts to develop new construction materials with high piezoelectricity and energy storage capacity. In addition, this article discusses the latest techniques for utilizing the piezoelectric materials in energy harvesters, sensors, and actuators for various building systems. With advanced methods for improving the cementitious piezoelectricity and applying the material piezoelectricity for different building functions, more renewable and sustainable building systems are anticipated.

Research Area(s)

  • Energy storage, Piezoelectric materials, Power harvesting, Sustainable buildings