Piezoelectric wafer active sensor embedded ultrasonics in beams and plates

Research paper by V. Giurgiutiu, J. Bao, W. Zhao

Indexed on: 01 Dec '03Published on: 01 Dec '03Published in: Experimental mechanics


In this paper we present the results of a systematic theoretical and experimental investigation of the fundamental aspects of using piezoelectric wafe active sensors (PWASs) to achieve embedded ultrasonics in thin-gage beam and plate structures. This investigation opens the path for systematic application of PWASs forin situ health monitoring. After a comprehensive review of the literature, we present the principles of embedded PWASs and their interaction with the host structure. We give a brief review of the Lamb wave principles with emphasis on the understanding the particle motion wave speed/group velocity dispersion. Finite element modeling and experiments on thin-gage beam and plate specimens are presented and analyzed. The axial (S0) and flexural (A0) wave propagation patterns are simulated and experimentally measured. The group-velocity dispersion curves are validated. The use of the pulse-echo ultrasonic technique with embedded PWASs is illustrated using both finite element simulation and experiments. The importance of using high-frequency waves optimally tuned to the sensor-structure interaction is demonstrated. In conclusion, we discuss the extension of these results toin situ structural health monitoring using embedded ultrasonics.