The physical properties discussed thus far are linear relationships between two measured quantities. This is only an approximation to the truth, and often not a very good approximation, especially for materials near a phase transformation. A more accurate description can be obtained by introducing higher order coefficients. To illustrate nonlinearity we discuss electrostriction, magnetostriction, and higher order elastic, and dielectric effects. These phenomena are described in terms of fourth and sixth rank tensors. Many of the recent innovations in the field of electroceramics have exploited the nonlinearities of material properties with factors such as electric field, mechanical stress, temperature, or frequency. The nonlinear dielectric behavior of ferroelectric ceramics (Fig. 15.1), for example, has opened up new markets in electronics and communications. In these materials the electric polarization saturates under high fields. Electric displacement Di varies with applied electric field Ej as … Di = εijEj + εijkEjEk + εijklEjEkEl +· · ·, … where εij is the dielectric permittivity and εijk and εijkl are higher order terms. The data in Fig. 15.1 were collected for a relaxor ferroelectric in its paraelectric state above Tc where the symmetry is centrosymmetric. Therefore the third rank tensor εijk is zero, and the shape of the curve is largely controlled by the first and third terms. For cubic crystals, the fourth rank tensor εijkl is similar in form to the elastic constants discussed in Chapter 13. Tunable microwave devices utilize nonlinear dielectrics in which the polarization saturates as in Fig. 15.1. By applying a DC bias the dielectric constant can be adjusted over a wide range.
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