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Optimization of Acoustic Matching Layers for Piezocomposite Transducers

Nicola Lamberti
Dip. di Ingegneria dellhformazione ed Ingegneria Elettrica, UniversitA di Salerno, 84084 Fisciano (SA), Italy.
Francisco Montero de Espinosa
Instituto de Acustica, C.S.I.C., Serrano 144,28006 Madrid, Spain.
Nicolas Perez, Hector Gomez, Carlos Negreira
Instituto de Fisica, U. de la Republica, 11200 Montevideo, Uruguay.

Abstract - At present, lot of piezoelectric broad band


ultrasonic transducers use as active material piezoelectric ceramic composites. In a typical transducer
based on piezocomposites the active material is
mounted on a soft backing and one matching layer is
placed on the front, radiating face, with the aim to
match the acoustic impedance of the medium and to
enlarge the bandwidth. In this paper an optimization
work is shown to demonstrate that a composite configuration can be used in the matching layer in order
to improve the efficiency and the band of the transducers. An approximated two-dimensional analytical
model has been used to optimize the design of a composite-structured matching layer in the case of 2-2
composites, obtaining different results for the polymer
and piezoceramic composite phases.

acoustic impedance of the matching material becomes


too close and higher than the one of the piezocomposite polymer phase, resulting, with some composite
geometry, in a destruction of the composite concept.
Matching layer

Polymer

Backing

Piezoceramjc

Fig. 1. Geometry of the analyzed 2-2 composite.


INTRODUCTION

In this paper we use an approximated two-dimen-

In the last years, most of the piezoelectric broad band


ultrasonic transducers for both, medical and NDE
purposes, use as active material piezoelectric ceramic
composites. A lot of scientific and technological research has been devoted to the optimization of piezocomposite materials, in order to increase the transducer band and efficiency [ 11. In a typical transducer
based on piezocomposites the active material is
mounted on a soft backing and one matching layer is
placed on the front, radiating face of the transducer,
with the aim to match the acoustic impedance of the
medium and to enlarge the bandwidth. Sbndard transducer one dimensional models - KLM, Mason, etc.
- are used to optimize the design of the matching
layer, supposing that the piezocomposite is a homogeneous material. With these approaches the specific

0-7803-6365-5/00/$10.00

0 2000 IEEE

sional analytical model, previously used to describe


multielement array transducers [2], and multi fiequency 2-2 composites [3], to optimize the design of
a composite-structured matching layer in the case of
2-2 composites. The transducer structure is shown in
Fig. 1. The model consider the piezoceramic element
of the composite as a two-dimensional (in the x and y
directions) resonator whose vibration can be described, in the frequency domain, by means of a 5 x 5
matrix. In this model we satisfy the stress and electrical boundary conditions only in an integral form, but
these approximations do not substantially affect the
results [4], [5]. The polymer strips are also considered
as two-dimensional structures and their model is deduced from that of the piezoelectric element simply
canceling all the piezoelectric constants and by taking

2000 UEEE ULTRASONICS SYMPOSIUM - 1105

the strip capacitance into account [3]. The full composite can be seen as a cascade connection, in the x direction, of the piezoelectric 5-bipole alternated to the
non-piezoelectric polymer 5-bipole. The connection
between the ports of the multipoles represents the mechanical contact between the elements. In order to
build up the matrix of the overall composite, we used
an algorithm which computes the resulting matrix of
the cascade of the two elemental matrices. Iterating
this algorithm to all the composite elements, we obtain
the total matrix [2]. With this matrix we are able to
compute the composite electrical input impedance and
transfer functions.
MATCHING LAYER DESIGN
The 2-2 piezocomposite that we have used as active
transducer element, is constituted by nine piezoelectric
(PZT-4 by Vemitron) strips separated by eight polymer (Araldite H by Ciba & Geigy) strips. The composite hckness t and length L are respectively: t = 2
mm and L = 8.4 mm, while the widths are w p = 1 mm
and w ,= 0.7 mm for the piezoceramic and the polymer
strips respectively. In order to stress the influence of
the matching layer on the transducer performance we
have not inserted the backing in the transducer design.
As a first step we designed the matching layer by considering the composite as a homogeneous material and
by using the Souquet criterion [6]:

where zm is the specific acoustic impedance of the


matching layer, while z, and ZL are specific acoustic
impedance of the composite and the load (zL = 1.5
Mrayls - water). The impedance of the composite
was computed taking fo= 800 kHz as resonance frequency - propagation velocity v, = 3200 m/s -, and
by making the mean weighted of the PZT-4 and
Araldite densities:

composite pc = 4894 kg/m3. The composite specific


acoustic impedance is therefore z, = 15.7 Mrayls, and
by applying the Souquet formula (1) we obtain z, =
4.1 Mrayls. As far as the matching layer thickness is
concerned, it was computed in a way that tm = h/4 at
the vibration frequency &, and supposing a propagation velocity in the matching layer v,,, = 2000 m / s ; the
obtained result is t,,, = 0.625 mm. In order to verify
the transducer performance with the matching layer
we compute the Transmission Transfer Function
(TTF) of a single piezoelectric element as the ratio
between the force exerted by the element on the load
and the applied voltage, and compared the result with
that obtained without matching layer. Fig. 2 shows
t h s comparison. As expected, the curve obtained
when the matching layer is present has a wider band
and a lower efficiency. In the figure the result obtained with t, = 0.615 mm is also shown; this different thickness let us to obtain a flatter response and
therefore it is chosen as optimum result. The specific
acoustic impedance of the matching layer is greater
than that of the polymer one (zl = 3.15 Mrayl) and
therefore a mismatch is expected for this composite
phase. In order to investigate this situation, we computed the TTF of a polymer element with the matching layer and compared it with that computed without
matching layer. The results are shown in Fig. 3. As it
can be seen, with the matching layer a larger bandwidth is obtained, but the result is poorer than that
obtained for the piezoelectric element. In order to improve the transducer performance we match the piezocomposite to the load by means of a composite
matching layer, i.e. a matching layer composed by
strips with the same thickness, but different specific
acoustic impedance. The acoustic impedance of the
plate in front of the piezoceramic and polymer elements are computed by separately applying the
Souquet criterion to the two composite phases:

+Pi Wi
w p +wi

Pp Wp

pc =

With pp = 7500 kg/m3 (PZT-4 mass density) andp, =


1170 kg/m3 (Araldite mass density), we obtain for the

1106 - 2000 IEEE ULTRASONICS SYMPOSIUM

The obtained results with zp = 34 Mrayl are: zmP= 5.4


Mrayl and z,, = 2.4 Mrayl. The emission of the piezoelectric element computed in this case is compared

-nomat

........ 0.625

-0.615
-10

0.4

05

06

07

0.8

0.9

1.1

1.0

1.2

fW1

Fig. 2. Comparison between the normalized responses


of the single piezoceramic element without
matching layer (no mat) and with a layer with
thickness t,,, = 0.625 mm, and t,,, = 0.615 nun.
0

-nomat

/\ ........

-10

4.1

.....

........

-20

\\

B
Y

-30

~,+,-

-40

-so

continuos layer one, while in Fig. 5 we report the one


obtained for the polymer. As far as the flatness of
band is considered, this last is the better result. The
obtained results show that a composite matching layer
can improve the transducer response. The specific
acoustical impedance of the phase in front of the piezoceramic elements can be computed by using the
Souquets expression (l), i.e., by considering the impedance of the composite. The impedance of the phase
in front of the polymer can be still computed by
means of the Souquets expression, but by considering
the impedance of the polymer itself (4). Further, the
response of the piezoceramic element is not influenced
by the polymer matching layer phase, while the response of the polymer depends on both the matching
layer phases. Another problem is to realize the composite matching layer with a uniform thickness (= h4)
and two different materials, that means two different
propagation velocities; in the computed results we
supposed that the velocities in the two matching layer
phases are the same. The classical solution to realize
matching layers is to use a polymer loaded with some
powder, varying the respective proportion in order to
obtain the desired acoustic impedance. The propagation velocity of the obtained material accordingly
varies. In literature there are some papers in which are
reported the material mechanical properties in function of the components proportion; for example, in [7]
it can be seen that by using a tungsten-vinyl composite with 92% in vinyl, an impedance of 4.1 Mrayl and
a velocity 1650 m / s are obtained. By using a polyurethane polymer (Grace 70010) powdered with alumina, (10% of alumina), an impedance of 2.4 Mrayl
and a velocity 1700 m / s are obtained. This results
shows the possibility to realize a matching layer with
two phases of different acoustic impedance, but with
the same propagation velocity.

0.4

05

0.6

0.7

08

09

1.0

1.1

I2

fWl

Fig. 3. Comparison between the normalized responses


of the single polymer element without matching layer (no mat) and with a layer which specific acoustic impedance is z,,, = 4.1 Mrayls.
in Fig. 4 with the result obtained with z,,, = 4.1 Mrayl.
As it can be seen the best result is obtained when the
same layer is used for the two phases. Fig. 5 shows
the same comparison for the emission of the polymer
element. In this case the results obtained with the continuos matching layer and the composite matching
layer are comparable. Finally, in order to improve the
responses both of the piezoceramic and polymer elements we computed the responses with a composite
layer with z,,,,, = 4.1 Mrayl and z, = 2.4 Mrayl. The
result obtained for the piezoceramic is the same of the

CONCLUSIONS

In the paper an optimization work is shown to demonstrate that composite configurations can be also applied to the matching layer in order to improve the efficiency and the band of transducers based on piezoceramic composites. An approximated two-dimensional analytical model has been used to optimize the
design of a composite-structured matching layer in
the case of 2-2 composites, obtaining different results

2000 IEEE ULTRASONICS SYMPOSIUM - 1107

-5.4, 2 4
..... .. 4 1

5 -

-30 1
04

05

07

0.8

0.9

1.0

II

1.2

fW1

Fig. 4. Comparison between the normalized responses


of the single piezoelectric element with a composite matching layer (Zmp = 5.4 Mrayl, z,,,; =
2.4 Mrayl) and with a continuos layer with
z, = 4.1 Mrayls.
0

-10

5 4. 2.4

......... 4

REFERENCES

06

of the piezoceramic element is not influenced by the


polymer matching layer phase, whle the response of
the polymer depends on the two matching materials.
This last result is probably due to the fact that the
model used for the optimization does not take the
shear stresses into account. The design method will be
refined by FEM methods and verified by experiments
when the technology used to fabricate the transducers
will let us to do it.

W. A. Smith, The role of piezocomposites in


ultrasonic transducers, IEEE Ultrasonics Conj
Proc., pp. 755-766, 1989.

N. Lamberti, V. Genovese, M. Pappalardo, A


two-dimensional model of the multielement piezoelectric transducer, IEEE Ultrasonics Con$
Proc., pp. 785-789, 1990.
N. Lamberti, F. R. Montero de Espinosa, A.
Iula, R. Carotenuto: Two-Dimensional Modeling of Multifrequency Piezocomposites; Ultrasonics, Vol. 37, Is. 8, pp. 577-583, Jan.
2000.

-50 1
0.4

0.5

06

0.7

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.1

1.2

fWl

Fig. 5. Comparison between the normalized responses


of the single polymer element with a composite
matching layer with Zmp = 5.4 Mrayl and Zmi =
2.4 Mrayl; with a composite matching layer
with zmP= 4.1 Mrayl and z,; = 2.4 Mrayl, and
with a continuos layer with z,,, = 4.1 Mrayls.
for the polymer and piezoceramic composite phases.
The acoustical impedance of the matching layer phase
in front of the piezoceramic elements can be computed
by using the well-known Souquets formula and by
considering the mean impedance of the composite; the
impedance in front of the polymer can be computed by
means of the same expression and by considering the
impedance of the polymer itself. Further, the response

1108 - 2000 IEEE ULTRASONICS SYMPOSIUM

N. Lamberti and M. Pappalardo, A General


Approximated Two-Dimensional Model for Piezoelectric Array Elements, IEEE Trans. on U1trason., Ferroelec. Frequency Contr. vol. 42,
no. 2, pp. 243-252, Mar. 1995.
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Iula, R. Carotenuto: Characterization of Piezoelectric Ceramics by Means of a Two Dimensional Model; IEEE Trans. on Ultrason., Ferroelec. Frequency Contr.,in print.

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