Improved thermoacoustic sound projectors by vibration mode modification

Ali E. Aliev, David H. Mueller, Kylie N. Tacker, Nathanael K. Mayo, John B. Blottman, Shashank Priya, Ray H. Baughman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The problem of coupled panel-cavity vibrations is addressed by studying the resonance modes in high power, low frequency, encapsulated thermoacoustic sound projectors using scanning laser vibrometry and sound pressure measurements. We fabricated and analyzed the performance of large area thermoacoustic sound projectors based on freestanding carbon nanotube sheets, encapsulated between a heat sink and various rigid vibrating plates. For thin, simply-supported vibrating plates we observed a strong deviation of resonance frequency and sound intensity from theoretical prediction for in vacuo plates. The domination of symmetric, odd modes for thin plates, with substantially improved sound radiation, is attributed to the coupled panel-cavity modes produced by harmonically varying pressure within the cavity. The observed modified mode shapes result from a minimum energy principle, wherein the potential energy stored in the entrained gas is minimized by reducing the overall change of the cavity gas volume. The effect of plate and cavity thickness on thermoacoustic projector performance in air is described for various devices. The optimized ultralight, low volume sound projectors can generate a remarkably high sound pressure level in air of over 120 dB re 20 μPa @ 1 m in a frequency range of 500 - 3000 Hz.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116753
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
StatePublished - Apr 28 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Improved thermoacoustic sound projectors by vibration mode modification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this