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28 May 2013 Pulse based sensor networking using mechanical waves through metal substrates
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This paper presents a novel wireless sensor networking technique using ultrasonic signal as the carrier wave for binary data exchange. Using the properties of lamb wave propagation through metal substrates, the proposed network structure can be used for runtime transport of structural fault information to ultrasound access points. Primary applications of the proposed sensor networking technique will include conveying fault information on an aircraft wing or on a bridge to an ultrasonic access point using ultrasonic wave through the structure itself (i.e. wing or bridge). Once a fault event has been detected, a mechanical pulse is forwarded to the access node using shortest path multi-hop ultrasonic pulse routing. The advantages of mechanical waves over traditional radio transmission using pulses are the following: First, unlike radio frequency, surface acoustic waves are not detectable outside the medium, which increases the inherent security for sensitive environments in respect to tapping. Second, event detection can be represented by the injection of a single mechanical pulse at a specific temporal position, whereas radio messages usually take several bits. The contributions of this paper are: 1) Development of a transceiver for transmitting/receiving ultrasound pulses with a pulse loss rate below 2·10-5 and false positive rate with an upper bound of 2·10-4. 2) A novel one-hop distance estimation based on the properties of lamb wave propagation with an accuracy of above 80%. 3) Implementation of a wireless sensor network using mechanical wave propagation for event detection on a 2024 aluminum alloy commonly used for aircraft skin construction.
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S. Lorenz, B. Dong, Q. Huo, W. J. Tomlinson Jr., and S. Biswas "Pulse based sensor networking using mechanical waves through metal substrates", Proc. SPIE 8753, Wireless Sensing, Localization, and Processing VIII, 875306 (28 May 2013);

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