Flexible piezopolymer ultrasonic guided wave arrays

Thomas R. Hay, Joseph L. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Ultrasonic guided wave technology is being applied to a variety of gas and liquid transmission pipeline inspection applications. There are a variety of promising transduction techniques used to excite longitudinal, torsional, and flexural modes in pipe. Some of the more common methods include electromagnetic-acoustic, magnetostrictive, and piezoceramic array transducers. The objective of the work presented in this paper was to develop an array design that is simpler to manufacture and attach to pipelines compared to the current piezoceramic design. The design considerations for a flexible piezopolymer-based array are discussed in this paper along with the basic principles behind the selection of the array element width and spacing. The performance of a piezoceramic and piezopolymer array, with identical element spacing and width, are compared at four different frequencies. Tests were undertaken on a carbon steel pipe with a simulated defect. Evaluation of the different arrays was performed in terms of the defect response, in terms of amplitude, of the lower-order axisymmetric modes. It is shown that while the piezopolymer array provides comparable sensitivity to the piezoceramic array, the amplitude of the signals reflected from the simulated defect are 30 dB lower compared to those generated using the piezoceramic array.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1212-1217
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE transactions on ultrasonics, ferroelectrics, and frequency control
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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