Designing an Ultrasonic Transducer
The first step in designing a transducer is to determine the temperature the device will see over its lifetime. It is important to consider both the expected maximum transient temperature and the ongoing, long-term use temperature. The temperature constrains the Piezo material types which can be used.
The next step is to consider the application and its requirements. Is the device going to be used as a flaw detector or as a flow meter? Will it need absolute sensitivity or will it require high power output? In the most general terms, will it be used in a pitch-catch mode or as a pulse-echo device? The answers to these questions also constrain the ceramic choice and help to define the performance requirements. Most performance requirements, particularly in the initial stages of a design process, will be goals rather than specifications. It is important to not specify anything which is not absolutely required until it impossible to proceed further without an absolute number. This artificially limits the design process at the most critical time and can lead the designer down the wrong path.
The next step is to consider other environmental requirements such as pressure, chemical exposure, magnetic fields, etc. Some of these items may also be expressed as goals, but usually they are dictated by the end use and hence are fixed requirements.
Next, any physical constraints such as size or weight need to be considered. These are also usually dictated by the application but sometimes are goals (like “as small as possible”).
Finally, the process needs to be iterated to look at the trade-offs between competing desires. For example, the degree of damping may be limited by the amount of space available for backing materials. Very often these trade-offs can force consideration of new approaches or ideas.
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