Modelling the 'universal' dielectric response in heterogeneous materials using microstructural electrical networks

C R Bowen, Darryl P Almond

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94 Citations (SciVal)


The frequency dependent conductivity and permittivity of a ceramic composite are modelled using electrical networks consisting of randomly positioned resistors and capacitors. The electrical network represents a heterogeneous microstructure that contains both insulating (the capacitor) and conductive regions (the resistor). To validate model results, a model ceramic conductor-insulator composite was designed consisting of a porous lead zirconate titanate impregnated with different concentrations of water. Excellent agreement between experimental and model data was achieved with a strong correlation with many other ceramics, glasses and composites. It is proposed that the 'universal' dielectric response of many materials is a consequence of microstructural heterogeneity. The modelling approach could be used as a simple and effective method for microstructural design of ceramics and other materials with tailored dielectric properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-724
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Science and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Electric insulators
  • Ceramic materials
  • Zirconium compounds
  • Electric conductivity
  • Resistors
  • Permittivity
  • Microstructure


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