/puy'roh i lek tris"i tee, -ee'lek-/, n.
electrification or electrical polarity produced in certain crystals by temperature changes.
[1825-35; PYRO- + ELECTRICITY]

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      development of opposite electrical charges on different parts of a crystal that is subjected to temperature change. First observed (1824) in quartz, pyroelectricity is exhibited only in crystallized nonconducting substances having at least one axis of symmetry that is polar (that is, having no centre of symmetry, the different crystal faces occurring on opposite ends). Portions of the crystal with the same symmetry will develop charges of like sign. Opposite temperature changes produce opposite charges at the same point; i.e., if a crystal develops a positive charge on one face during heating, it will develop a negative charge there during cooling. The charges gradually dissipate if the crystal is kept at a constant temperature.

      Pyroelectricity and its relative piezoelectricity have been studied using a method devised by the German physicist August A. Kundt. A mixture of finely powdered sulfur and red lead is blown through a cloth screen onto a charged crystal. Through friction the sulfur particles acquire a negative charge and are attracted to the positive charges on the crystal, while the positively charged red lead goes to the crystal's negative charges.

      A pyroelectric thermometer can determine change by measurement of the voltage induced by the separation of the charges.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • pyroelectricity — [pī΄rō ē΄lek΄tris′ə tē] n. the development of electric dipoles in certain crystalline materials as a result of temperature changes: often called pyroelectric effect …   English World dictionary

  • pyroelectricity — piroelektra statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. pyroelectricity vok. Pyroelektrizität, f rus. пироэлектричество, n pranc. pyro électricité, f …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • pyroelectricity — noun generation of an electric charge on certain crystals (such as tourmaline) as a result of a change in temperature • Derivationally related forms: ↑pyroelectrical, ↑pyroelectric • Hypernyms: ↑electrical phenomenon * * * |pī(ˌ)rō+ noun… …   Useful english dictionary

  • pyroelectricity — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: circa 1834 a state of electrical polarization produced (as in a crystal) by a change of temperature • pyroelectric adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pyroelectricity — noun the generation of electric charge as a result of a change in temperature See Also: pyroelectric …   Wiktionary

  • pyroelectricity — py·ro·electricity …   English syllables

  • pyroelectricity — py•ro•e•lec•tric•i•ty [[t]ˌpaɪ roʊ ɪ lɛkˈtrɪs ɪ ti, ˌi lɛk [/t]] n. elm electrification or electrical polarity produced in certain crystals by temperature changes • Etymology: 1825–35 py ro•e•lec′tric, adj …   From formal English to slang

  • pyroelectricity — /ˌpaɪroʊəlɛkˈtrɪsəti/ (say .puyrohuhlek trisuhtee) noun the electrified state, or electric polarity, in some crystals produced by and changing with temperature …   Australian English dictionary

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