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A flexible piezoelectric transducer design for efficient generation and reception of ultrasonic lamb waves

Gachagan, A. and Hayward, G. and Banks, R.A. (2005) A flexible piezoelectric transducer design for efficient generation and reception of ultrasonic lamb waves. IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, 52 (7). pp. 1175-1182. ISSN 0885-3010

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This paper describes the development of a flexible piezoelectric transducer for the generation and detection of ultrasonic symmetrical Lamb waves in plate-like structures. This piezoplatelet transducer structure comprises an array of miniature piezoceramic plates embedded within a soft setting polymer filler material, combining the efficiency of the active piezoceramic phase with a degree of flexibility, which is a function of the platelet/polymer dimensions. For many condition-monitoring applications, the generation of ultrasonic Lamb waves is often appropriate, and this was achieved by incorporating interdigital design techniques via the transducer electrode pattern. The performance of the piezoplatelet transducer structure was evaluated using a combination of linear systems and finite-element modeling, substantiated by experimental results. Importantly, the transducer is shown to operate as an ensemble of platelets, each operating in the thickness mode and well decoupled from neighboring piezoelectric elements. Using this transducer configuration, an unimodal s/sub 1/ Lamb wave, at 1.45 MHz, has been generated and detected in a 3-mm thick steel plate. Furthermore, a propagation distance of almost 1 m was recorded for s/sub 0/ Lamb wave generation/detection in a fiber-reinforced composite plate.