Effects of temperature on the electrical impedance of piezoelectric elements

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Date
1996-02-05
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Publisher
Virginia Tech
Abstract

A structural health monitoring technique, developed at the Center for Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, employs piezoelectric (PZT) materials for tracking the structural impedance to qualitatively identify damage. The mechanical impedance of a structure is a function of the structure's mass, stiffness, damping, and structural boundary conditions. Changes in any of the above-mentioned properties lead to a change in the mechanical impedance of the structure and a change in the impedance pattern of the structure. The mechanical impedance of a structure can be measured by coupling the electrical and mechanical impedances via PZT patches. Therefore any change in the mechanical impedance leads to a change in the electrical impedance of the PZT bonded to the structure of interest. However, change of the electrical impedance can also occur due to changes in temperature. Piezoelectric materials have been known to have temperature dependency regarding their basic properties, such as the dielectric constant and the piezoelectric coefficient. In this thesis, this temperature dependency will be investigated. The motivation of this work is linked to the impedance-based nondestructive evaluation (NDE) technique which employs PZT sensors for tracking changes in the structural impedance, by measuring the electrical impedance, to qualitatively identify damage. However, for this NDE technique to be successful in all types of environments, it must be insensitive to temperature variations. As mentioned earlier, piezoelectric materials have strong temperature dependency and a temperature compensation procedure is necessary. Therefore, two software correction techniques were developed to eliminate the effects of temperature in the electrical impedance measurements of PZT sensors.

(NDE) technique which employs PZT sensors for tracking changes in the structural impedance, by measuring the electrical impedance, to qualitatively identify damage. However, for this NDE technique to be successful in all types of environments, it must be insensitive to temperature variations. As mentioned earlier, piezoelectric materials have strong temperature dependency and a temperature compensation procedure is necessary. Therefore, two software correction techniques were developed to eliminate the effects of temperature in the electrical impedance measurements of PZT sensors.

The second correction technique is based on the sensor output. Through experimental investigation, it was found that temperature will have the effect of shifting the electrical impedance magnitude of the piezoelectric sensor, while leaving the impedance phase unaffected. To characterize the temperature effects in PZT materials, a temperature coefficient which is independent of frequency has defined. Finally, based on the defined temperature coefficient, a simple temperature compensation technique has been implemented successfully, eliminating the effects of temperature on PZT sensors while not eliminating the effects of temperature on the structure.

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Keywords
mechanical impedance
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