17 May 2005 Design, characterization, and experimental use of the second generation MEMS acoustic emission device
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We describe the design, fabrication, testing and application (in structural experiments) of our 2004 (second generation) MEMS device, designed for acoustic emission sensing based upon experiments with our 2002 (first generation) device. Both devices feature a suite of resonant-type transducers in the frequency range between 100 kHz and 1 MHz. The 2002 device was designed to operate in an evacuated housing because of high squeeze film damping, as confirmed in our earlier experiments. In additional studies involving the 2002 device, experimental simulation of acoustic emissions in a steel plate, using pencil lead break or ball impact loading, showed that the transducers in the frequency range of 100 kHz-500 kHz presented clearer output signals than the transducers with frequencies higher than 500 kHz. Using the knowledge gained from the 2002 device, we designed and fabricated our second generation device in 2004 using the multi-user polysilicon surface micromachining (MUMPs) process. The 2004 device has 7 independent capacitive type transducers, compared to 18 independent transducers in the 2002 device, including 6 piston type transducers in the frequency range of 100 kHz to 500 kHz and 1 piston type transducer at 1 MHz to capture high frequency information. Piston type transducers developed in our research have two uncoupled modes so that twofold information can be acquired from a single transducer. In addition, the piston shape helps to reduce residual stress effect of surface micromachining process. The center to center distance between etch holes in the vibrating plate was reduced from 30 μm to 13 μm, in order to reduce squeeze film damping. As a result, the Q factor under atmospheric pressure for the 100 kHz transducer was increased to 2.37 from 0.18, and therefore the vacuum housing has been eliminated from the 2004 device. Sensitivities of transducers were also increased, by enlarging transducer area, in order to capture significant small amplitude acoustic emission events. The average individual transducer area in the 2004 device was increased to 6.97 mm2 as compared to 2.51 mm2 in the 2002 device. In this paper, we report the new experimental results on the characterization of the 2004 device and compare them with analytical results. We show improvements in sensitivity as measured by capacitance and as measured by pencil lead break experiments. Improvement in damping is also evaluated by admittance measurement in atmosphere. Pencil lead break experiments also show that transducers can operate in atmospheric pressure. Finally, we apply the device to acoustic emission experiments on crack propagation in a steel beam specimen, precracked in fatigue, in a four-point bending test.
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Didem Ozevin, David W. Greve, Irving J. Oppenheim, Stephen Pessiki, "Design, characterization, and experimental use of the second generation MEMS acoustic emission device", Proc. SPIE 5765, Smart Structures and Materials 2005: Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems, (17 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.601161; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.601161

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