Simulation and measurement of nonlinear behaviour in a high-power test cell

Harvey, Gerald and Gachagan, Anthony (2011) Simulation and measurement of nonlinear behaviour in a high-power test cell. IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, 58 (4). pp. 808-819. ISSN 0885-3010

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High-power ultrasound has many diverse uses in process applications in industries ranging from food to pharmaceutical. Because cavitation is frequently a desirable effect within many high-power, low-frequency systems, these systems are commonly expected to feature highly nonlinear acoustic propagation because of the high input levels employed. This generation of harmonics significantly alters the field profile compared with that of a linear system, making accurate field modeling difficult. However, when the short propagation distances involved are considered, it is not unreasonable to assume that these systems may remain largely linear until the onset of cavitation, in terms of classical acoustic propagation. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the possible nonlinear effects within such systems before the onset of cavitation. A theoretical description of nonlinear propagation will be presented and the merits of common analytical models will be discussed. Following this, a numerical model of nonlinearity will be outlined and the advantages it presents for representing nonlinear effects in bounded fields will be discussed. Next, the driving equipment and transducers will be evaluated for linearity to disengage any effects from those formed in the transmission load. Finally, the linearity of the system will be measured using an acoustic hydrophone and compared with finite element analysis to confirm that nonlinear effects are not prevalent in such systems at the onset of cavitation.