A novel metrics termed the ‘wave electromechanical coupling factor’ (WEMCF) is proposed in this paper, to quantify the coupling strength between the mechanical and electric fields during the passage of a wave in piezoelectric composites. Two definitions of WEMCF are proposed, leading to a frequency formula and two energy formulas for the calculation of such a factor. The frequency formula is naturally consistent with the conventional modal electromechanical coupling factor (MEMCF) but the implementation is difficult. The energy formulas do not need the complicated wave matching required in the frequency formula, therefore are suitable for computing. We demonstrated that the WEMCF based on the energy formula is consistent with the MEMCF, provided that an appropriate indicator is chosen for the electric energy. In this way, both the theoretical closure and the computational feasibility are achieved. A numerical tool based on the wave and finite element method (WFEM) is developed to implement the energy formulas, and it allows the calculation of WEMCF for complex one-dimensional piezoelectric composites. A reduced model is proposed to accelerate the computing of the wave modes and the energies. The analytical findings and the reduced model are numerically validated against two piezoelectric composites with different complexity. Eventually an application is given, concerning the use of the shunted piezoelectric composite for vibration isolation. A strong correlation among the WEMCF, the geometric parameters and the energy transmission loss are observed. These results confirm that the proposed WEMCF captures the physics of the electromechanical coupling phenomenon associated with the guided waves, and can be used to understand, evaluate and design the piezoelectric composites for a variety of applications.
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