Continual Traveling waves in Finite Structures: Theory, Simulations, and Experiments

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Virginia Tech


A mechanical wave is generated as a result of an external force interacting with the well-defined medium and it propagates through that medium transferring energy from one location to another. The ability to generate and control the motion of the mechanical waves through the finite medium opens up the opportunities for creating novel actuation mechanisms not possible before. However, any impedance to the path of these waves, especially in the form of finite boundaries, disperses this energy in the form of reflections. Therefore, it is impractical to achieve steady state traveling waves in finite structures without any reflections. In-spite of all these conditions, is it possible to generate waveforms that travel despite reflections at the boundaries? The work presented in this thesis develops a framework to answer this question by leveraging the dynamics of the finite structures without any active control.

Therefore, this work investigates how mechanical waves are developed in finite structures and identifies the factors that influence steady state wave characteristics. Theoretical and experimental analysis is conducted on 1D and 2D structures to realize different type of traveling waves. Owing to the robust characteristics of the piezo-ceramics (PZTs) in vibrational studies, we developed piezo-coupled structures to develop traveling waves through experiments.The results from this study provided the fundamental physics behind the generation of mechanical waves and their propagation through finite mediums. This research will consolidate the outcomes and develop a structural framework that will aid with the design of adaptable structural systems built for the purpose. The present work aims to generate and harness structural traveling waves for various applications.



Traveling Waves, Piezo-ceramics, Vibrations, Phase-selection, Dynamics, Actuation, Plates, Beams