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Characterization and Design Improvement of a Thickness-Shear Lead Zirconate Titanate Transducer for Low Frequency Ultrasonic Guided Wave Applications

1
National Structural Integrity Research Centre, Granta Park, Great Abington, Cambridge CB21 6AL, UK
2
Department of Aeronautical and Automotive, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TT, UK
3
Brunel University London, Uxbridge UB8 3PH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(8), 1848; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19081848
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
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Abstract

Thickness-shear transducers for guided wave testing have been used in industry for over two decades and much research has been conducted to improve the resolution and sensitivity. Due to a geometric feature of the current state-of-the art transducer, there is an out-of-plane component in the propagation direction of the fundamental shear horizontal mode which complicates the signal interpretation. In such case, complex signal processing techniques need to be used for mode discrimination to assess the structural health with higher precision. Therefore, it is important to revise the transducer design to eliminate the out-of-plane components in the propagation direction of fundamental shear horizontal mode. This will enhance the mode purity of fundamental shear horizontal mode for its application in guided wave inspection. A numerical investigation has been conducted on a 3 mm thick 2 m circular steel plate to understand the behaviour and the characteristics of the state-of-the-art thickness-shear transducer. Based on the results, it is noted that the redesigning the electrode arrangement will suppress the out-of-plane components on the propagation direction of the fundamental shear horizontal mode. With the aid of this information current state-of-the-art transducers were redesigned and tested in laboratory conditions using the 3D Laser Doppler Vibrometer. This information will aid future transducer designers improve the resolution of thickness-shear transducers for guided wave applications and reduce the weight and cost of transducer array by eliminating the need of additional transducers to suppress spurious modes. View Full-Text
Keywords: ultrasonic guided waves testing; mode purity; non-destructive testing; numerical simulations; sensor development; thickness-shear transducers ultrasonic guided waves testing; mode purity; non-destructive testing; numerical simulations; sensor development; thickness-shear transducers
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Zennaro, M.; O’Boy, D.J.; Lowe, P.S.; Gan, T.-H. Characterization and Design Improvement of a Thickness-Shear Lead Zirconate Titanate Transducer for Low Frequency Ultrasonic Guided Wave Applications. Sensors 2019, 19, 1848.

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