Design and dynamics of oil filled flexural ultrasonic transducers for elevated pressures

William Somerset, Andrew Feeney, Lei Kang, Zhichao Li, Steve Dixon

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The flexural ultrasonic transducer has traditionally been limited to proximity measurement applications, such as car-parking systems and industrial metrology. Principally, their classical form is unsuitable for environments above atmospheric 1 bar pressure, due to an internal air cavity which creates a pressure imbalance across the transducer’s vibrating membrane. This imbalance leads to physical deformation and degradation of the transducer’s structure, restricting the membrane’s capacity to vibrate at resonance to transmit and receive ultrasound. There is a requirement for ultrasonic sensors which can withstand environments of elevated pressure, for example in ultrasonic gas metering. Recent research demonstrated the dynamic performance of flexural ultrasonic transducers with vented structures, allowing the pressure to balance across the transducer membrane. However, a hermetically sealed transducer is a more practical and robust solution, where the internal components of the transducer, such as the piezoelectric ceramic disc, will be protected from harmful environmental fluids. In this research, the design and fabrication of a new form of flexural ultrasonic transducer for environments of elevated pressure is demonstrated, where the internal air cavity is filled with an incompressible fluid in the form of a non-volatile oil. Dynamic performance is measured through acoustic microphone measurements, electrical impedance analysis, and pulse-echo ultrasound measurement. Together with finite element analysis, stable ultrasound measurement is achieved above 200 bar in air, opening the possibility for reliable ultrasound measurement in hostile environments of elevated pressure.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Early online date6 Jun 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 6 Jun 2022


  • elevated pressure
  • flexural ultrasonic transducer
  • oil filled transducer
  • UKRI
  • EP/N025393/1


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