Direct-write piezoelectric transducers on carbon-fiber reinforced polymer structures for exciting and receiving guided ultrasonic waves

Marilyne Philibert, Shuting Chen, Voon Kean Wong, Kui Yao, Constantinos Soutis, Matthieu Gresil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Advancements in the structural health monitoring (SHM) technology of composite materials are of paramount importance for early detection of critical damage. In this work, direct-write ultrasonic transducers (DWTs) were designed for the excitation and reception of selective ultrasonic guided waves and fabricated by spraying 25 μm thick piezoelectric poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-trifluoroethylene) (P(VDF-TRFE)) coating with a comb-shaped electrode on carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) plates. The characteristics and performance of the ultrasonic DWTs were benchmarked with the state-of-the-art devices, discrete lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramic transducers surface-mounted on the same CFRP plates. The DWTs exhibited improved Lamb wave mode excitation (A0 or S0 mode) relative to the discrete PZT transducers. Moreover, high signal-to-noise ratio was obtained by effectively cancelling other modes and enhancing the directivity with the periodic comb-shaped electrode design of the DWTs, despite the smaller signal amplitudes. The enhanced directivity overcompensates for lower amplitude attenuation, making DWT a good candidate for locally monitoring critical stress hot-spot regions in the CFRP structure prone to early damage initiation. Further, it is shown that pairing a DWT sensor with a discrete PZT actuator could further achieve balanced performance in both wave mode selection and signal amplitudes, making this combination really attractive for ultrasonic SHM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2733-2740
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Acoustics
  • Coatings
  • Composite material
  • direct write
  • Discrete wavelet transforms
  • Dispersion
  • Electrodes
  • Lamb wave
  • Monitoring
  • piezoelectric polymer
  • Piezoelectric transducers
  • Structural Health Monitoring
  • ultrasonic transducer

Cite this