Highly (100),(001)-oriented (Ba0.85Ca0.15)TiO3 (BCT) lead-free piezoelectric ceramics were fabricated by the reactive templated grain growth method using a mixture of plate-like CaTiO3 and BaTiO3 particles. Piezoelectric properties of the ceramics with a high degree of texture were found to be considerably enhanced compared with the BCT ceramics with a low degree of texture. With increasing the Lotgering factor from 26% up to 94%, the piezoelectric properties develop towards the properties of a single crystal. The dynamics of polarization switching was studied over a broad time domain of 8 orders of magnitude and was found to strongly depend on the degree of orientation of the ceramics. Samples with a high degree of texture exhibited 2–3 orders of magnitude faster polarization switching, as compared with the ones with a low degree of texture. This was rationalized by means of the Inhomogeneous Field Mechanism model as a result of the narrower statistical distribution of the local electric field values in textured media, which promotes a more coherent switching process. The extracted microscopic parameters of switching revealed a decrease of the critical nucleus energy in systems with a high degree of texture providing more favorable switching conditions related to the enhanced ferroelectric properties of the textured material.

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