Optimization of PZT ceramic IDT sensors for health monitoring of structures

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Surface acoustic waves (SAW) are particularly suited to effectively monitoring and characterizing structural surfaces (condition of the surface, coating, thin layer, micro-cracks…) as their energy is localized on the surface, within approximately one wavelength. Conventionally, in non-destructive testing, wedge sensors are used to the generation guided waves but they are especially suited to flat surfaces and sized for a given type material (angle of refraction). Additionally, these sensors are quite expensive so it is quite difficult to leave the sensors permanently on the structure for its health monitoring. Therefore we are considering in this study, another type of ultrasonic sensors, able to generate SAW. These sensors are interdigital sensors or IDT sensors for InterDigital Transducer. This paper focuses on optimization of IDT sensors for non-destructive structural testing by using PZT ceramics. The challenge was to optimize the dimensional parameters of the IDT sensors in order to efficiently generate surface waves. Acoustic tests then confirmed these parameters.

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