The discovery of piezoelectricity.


The piezoelectric effect is the ability of certain solid materials (crystals, certain ceramics and even biological matter such as bone, DNA and certain proteins) to generate a voltage when subjected to mechanical stress and vice versa.

  • In 1880, the French physicists and brothers Paul-Jacques Curie and Pierre Curie demonstrated the generation of an electric potential when compressing tourmaline and quartz crystals.
  • Tin sheets were attached to the top and bottom of a crystal and the crystal subjected to pressure; once compressed, a voltage was created that was detected by a voltmeter because of the tin sheets. When released, an inverse voltage was created.

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  • Here is a photograph of Paul-Jacques Curie:

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  • And here is one of Pierre Curie:

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