PZTPb(ZrTi) – Lead Zirconate Titanate is a piezoelectric ceramic material used in ultrasonic transducers. PZT is the shortened form of the chemical symbols, ie Pb(ZrTi). One definition of ceramics is a refractory, inorganic and non-metallic material. Piezo is the Greek word for ‘push’. Piezoelectric materials are materials that acquire a charge when they are compressed, twisted or distorted. The effect is reversible, so if a charge is applied to the piezoelectric material then the material distorts.

A transducer is a device for converting a non-electrical signal into an electrical signal and vice versa. When an electrical oscillation is applied to a PZT crystal it will mechanically vibrate, providing a source of ultrasound. When ultrasonic waves impinge on a PZT crystal they generate electrical oscillations, which make up the received signal to be displayed on the flaw detector. PZT is one of the most commonly employed ceramics for making transducers. However, new materials such as piezo-polymers and composites are also being used in some applications.

For more information on PZT transducers see:

For information on the wide uses of piezoelectric materials see:

What the hec?! articles are not intended to be the definitive account on the topic or acronym in question. Readers’ comments and contributions are welcomed. Email: ndtnews@bindt.org