Multi-Physics Simulation of Ultra-Lightweight Carbon Nanotube Speakers

Mahsa Asgarisabet, Andrew Barnard

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Carbon Nanotube (CNT) thin film speakers produce sound with the thermoacoustic effect. Alternating current passes through the low heat capacity CNT thin film changing the surface temperature rapidly. CNT thin film does not vibrate; instead it heats and cools the air adjacent to the film, creating sound pressure waves. These speakers are inexpensive, transparent, stretchable, flexible, magnet-free, and lightweight. Because of their novelty, developing a model and better understanding the performance of CNT speakers is useful in technology development in applications that require ultra-lightweight sub-systems. The automotive industry is a prime example of where these speakers can be enabling technology for innovative new component design. Developing a multi-physics (Electrical-Thermal-Acoustical) FEA model, for planar CNT speakers is studied in this paper. The temperature variation on the CNT thin film is obtained by applying alternating electrical current to the CNT film. The surface temperature variation is then used to simulate the pressure distribution in the open medium. To validate the model, the results of simulation are compared to the experimental data and traditional lumped-parameter models. From the simulation results, the frequency response and directivity patterns for the CNT speakers are shown. The effects of thin film surface area and material properties of the medium are also discussed with respect to the output sound power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSAE Technical Papers
Issue numberJune
StatePublished - Jun 5 2017
EventSAE 2017 Noise and Vibration Conference and Exhibition, NVC 2017 - Grand Rapids, United States
Duration: Jun 12 2017Jun 15 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Pollution
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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