Wireless Energy Supply to Aircraft Structural Health Monitoring Nodes Using Ultrasonic Lamb Waves

Open access


This article is based on research done during the author’s PhD at Cardiff University, UK. A prototype of a novel wireless energy transmission system aimed at the use with wireless aircraft structural health monitoring (SHM) sensor nodes is described. The system uses ultrasonic guided plate waves (Lamb waves) to transmit energy along an aluminium plate, similar to those used in aircraft structures. Three types of piezoelectric transducers generating and receiving the ultrasonic vibration were compared. The Smart Material MFC M8528-P1 was found to achieve the best performance, allowing the transmission of 17 mW across a 54 cm distance, while being driven with a 20 V signal. Laser vibrometer imaging and LISA software simulation of the Lamb wave propagation in the experimental plate were also performed. Based on these, ideas for a further development of the system were proposed.

1. Carol A. Featherston; Karen M. Holford; Rhys Pullin; Jonathan Lees; Mark Eaton; Matthew Pearson; An autonomous structural health monitoring solution. Proc. SPIE 8763, Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS VI, 876302 (May 17, 2013); doi:10.1117/12.2018401.

2. D. A. Shoudy, G. J. Saulnier, H. A. Scarton, P. K. Das, S. Roa-Prada, J. D. Ashdown, and A. J. Gavens, “An Ultrasonic Through-Wall Communication System with Power Harvesting,” 2007 IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium Proceedings, pp. 1848–1853, Oct. 2007.

3. M. Kluge, T. Becker, J. Schalk, and T. Otterpohl, “Remote acoustic powering and data transmission for sensors inside of conductive envelopes,” 2008 IEEE Sensors, Oct. 2008.

4. T. J. Lawry, K. R. Wilt, S. Roa-Prada, J. D. Ashdown, G. J. Saulnier, H. A. Scarton, P. K. Das, and A. J. Gavens, ‘A high-temperature acoustic-electric system for power delivery and data communication through thick metallic barriers’, in Proceedings of SPIE, vol 8035, p. 80351D–80351D–12. 2011.

5. X. Bao, W. Biederman, S. Sherrit, M. Badescu, Y. Bar-Cohen, C. Jones, J. Aldrich, and Z. Chang, “High-power piezoelectric acoustic-electric power feedthru for metal walls,” in Proceedings of SPIE, 2008, vol. 6930, no. 1, p. 69300Z–69300Z–8.

6. S. Moss, J. Skippen, M. Konak, I. Powlesland, and S. Galea, “Detachable acoustic electric feedthrough,” in Proceedings of SPIE, 2010, vol. 7647, no. 1, pp. 764745–764745–12.

7. P. Larson and B. Towe, “Miniature ultrasonically powered wireless nerve cuff stimulator,” Neural Engineering (NER), 2011 5th, pp. 265–268, 2011.

8. T. Maleki, N. Cao, S. H. Song, C. Kao, S.-C. A. Ko, and B. Ziaie, “An ultrasonically powered implantable micro-oxygen generator (IMOG).,” IEEE transactions on bio-medical engineering, vol. 58, no. 11, pp. 3104–11, Nov. 2011.

10. Lamb, H., 1917, “On waves in an elastic plate”, in Conference of the Royal Society, London, vol. XCIII, pp. 114-128

11. McWade, Acoustic Emission Solutions, http://www.mcwademonitoring.co.uk/acoustic-emissions-solutions.php, [retrieved 2013-03-22]

12. Mide, Quick Pack Piezoelectric Transducers Online Catalog, http://www.mide.com/products/qp/qp_catalog.php#sensor, [retrieved 2013-03-22]

13. Smart Material, n.d., MFC, http://www.smart-material.com/MFC-product-main.html, [retrieved 2013-03-22]

14. Pretorius, J., Hugo, M. & Spangler, R., 2004. A Comparison of Packaged Piezoactuators for Industrial Applications substrate piezo substrate. Mide Technology Corporation Publication, pp.1–12.

15. Kural, A., Pullin, R., Holford, K., Lees, J., Naylon, J., Paget, C. and Featherston, C. 2013. Design and characterization of an ultrasonic lamb-wave power delivery system. Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on 60(6)

16. Kural, A., 2013, Ultrasonic Lamb Wave Energy Transmission System for Aircraft Structural Health Monitoring Applications. PhD thesis at Cardiff University.

17. Haig, A. 2010. MFC Presentation (SHeMS Meeting Jul 2010).

Fatigue of Aircraft Structures

The Journal of Institute of Aviation

Journal Information

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.102


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 55 55 16
PDF Downloads 12 12 3