Piezoelectric crystals are popular for passive sensors, such as accelerometers and acoustic emission sensors, due to their robustness and high sensitivity. These sensors are widespread in structural health monitoring among civil and industrial structures, but there is little application in high temperature environments (e.g. > 1000°C) due to the few materials that are capable of operating at elevated temperatures. Most piezoelectric materials suffer from a loss of electric properties above temperatures in the 500-700°C range, but rare earth oxyborate crystals, such as Yttrium calcium oxyborate (YCOB), retain their piezoelectric properties above 1000 °C. Our previous research demonstrated that YCOB can be used to detect transient lamb waves via Hsu-Nielsen tests, which replicate acoustic emission waves, up to 1000°C. In this paper, YCOB piezoelectric acoustic emission sensors were tested for their ability to detect crack progression at elevated temperatures. The sensor was fabricated using a YCOB single crystal and Inconel electrodes and wires. The sensor was mounted onto a stainless steel bar substrate, which was machined to include a pre-crack notch. A dynamic load was induced on the bar with a shaker in order to force the crack to advance along the thickness of the substrate. The obtained raw data was processed and analyzed in the frequency domain and compared to the Lamb wave modes that were evaluated in previous Hsu-Nielsen testing for the substrate.
Piezoelectric crystals have shown promising results as acoustic emission sensors, but are often hindered by the loss of electric properties above temperatures in the 500-700°C range. Yttrium calcium oxyborate, (YCOB), however, is a promising high temperature piezoelectric material due to its high resistivity at high temperatures and its relatively stable electromechanical and piezoelectric properties across a broad temperature range. In this paper, a piezoelectric
acoustic emission sensor was designed, fabricated, and tested for use in high temperature applications using a YCOB
single crystal. An acoustic wave was generated by a Hsu-Nielsen source on a stainless steel bar, which then propagated through the substrate into a furnace where the YCOB acoustic emission sensor is located. Charge output of the YCOB sensor was collected using a lock-in charge amplifier. The sensitivity of the YCOB sensor was found to have small to no degradation with increasing temperature up to 1000 °C. This oxyborate crystal showed the ability to detect zero order symmetric and antisymmetric modes, as well as distinguishable first order antisymmetric modes at elevated temperatures up to 1000 °C.