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Enhancing the bandwidth of piezoelectric composite transducers for air-coupled non-destructive evaluation

Banks, Robert and O'Leary, Richard L. and Hayward, Gordon (2017) Enhancing the bandwidth of piezoelectric composite transducers for air-coupled non-destructive evaluation. Ultrasonics, 75. 132–144. ISSN 0041-624X

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This paper details the development of a novel method for increasing the operational bandwidth of piezocomposites without the need for lossy backing material, the aim being to increase fractional bandwith by geometrical design. Removing the need for lossy backing materials, should in turn increase the transmit efficiency in the desired direction of propagation. Finite element analysis has been employed to determine the mode of operation of the new piezocomposite devices and shows good correlation with that derived experimentally. Through a series of practical and analytical methods it has been shown that additional thickness mode resonances can be introduced into the structure by a simple machining process. The shaped composites described in this paper offer increased operational bandwidth. A simple example of a two step thickness design is described to validate and illustrate the principle. A more complex conical design is presented that illustrates a possible tenfold increase in bandwidth from 30kHz to 300kHz, operating in air without backing. An illustration of the applicability of this type of transducer technology for frequency agile guided mode non-destructive evaluation is then presented.