The high frequency flexural ultrasonic transducer for transmitting and receiving ultrasound in air

Lei Kang, Andrew Feeney, Steve Dixon

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Flexural ultrasonic transducers are robust and low cost sensors that are typically used in industry for distance ranging, proximity sensing and flow measurement. The operating frequencies of currently available commercial flexural ultrasonic transducers are usually below 50 kHz. Higher operating frequencies would be particularly beneficial for measurement accuracy and detection sensitivity. In this paper, design principles of High Frequency Flexural Ultrasonic Transducers (HiFFUTs), guided by the classical plate theory and finite element analysis, are reported. The results show that the diameter of the piezoelectric disc element attached to the flexing plate of the HiFFUT has a significant influence on the transducer's resonant frequency, and that an optimal diameter for a HiFFUT transmitter alone is different from that for a pitch-catch ultrasonic system consisting of both a HiFFUT transmitter and a receiver. By adopting an optimal piezoelectric diameter, the HiFFUT pitch-catch system can produce an ultrasonic signal amplitude greater than that of a non-optimised system by an order of magnitude. The performance of a prototype HiFFUT is characterised through electrical impedance analysis, laser Doppler vibrometry, and pressure-field microphone measurement, before the performance of two new HiFFUTs in a pitch-catch configuration is compared with that of commercial transducers. The prototype HiFFUT can operate efficiently at a frequency of 102.1 kHz as either a transmitter or a receiver, with comparable output amplitude, wider bandwidth, and higher directivity than commercially available transducers of similar construction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19782716
Pages (from-to)7653-7660
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number14
Early online date20 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


  • RCUK
  • EP/N025393/1
  • air-coupled ultrasonic transducer
  • finite element analysis
  • flexural ultrasonic transducer
  • ultrasonic measurement


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