Fourier-based design of acoustic transducers
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The work presented in this thesis investigates novel transducer implementations that take advantage of directional sensing and generation of acoustic waves. These transducers are conceived by exploiting a Fourier-based design methodology. The proposed devices find application in the broad field of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), which is a very active research area devoted to the assessment of the structural integrity of critical components in aerospace, civil and mechanical systems. Among SHM schemes, Guided Waves (GWs) testing has emerged as a prominent option for inspection of plate-like structures using permanently attached piezoelectric transducers. GWs-based methods rely on the generation and sensing of elastic waves to evaluate structural integrity. They offer an effective method to estimate location, severity and type of damage. It is widely acknowledged among the GWs-SHM community that effective monitoring of structural health is facilitated by sensors and actuators designed with ad hoc engineered capabilities. The objective of this research is to design innovative piezoelectric transducers by specifying their electrode patterns in the Fourier domain. Taking advantage of the Fourier framework, transducer design procedures are outlined and tailored to relevant SHM applications, such as (i) directional actuation and sensing of GWs, (ii) simultaneous sensing of multiple strain components with a single device, and (iii) estimation of the location of impact sites on structural components. The proposed devices enable significant reductions in cost, hardware, and power requirements for advanced SHM schemes when compared to current technologies.