Acoustic communications: A link between SHM and robotic NDE

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


DEStech Publications, Inc


Computing, Health and Science


Engineering, Centre for Communications Engineering Research




Originally published as: Wild, G., & Hinckley, S. (2009, September). Acoustic communications: A link between SHM and robotic NDE. In Structural Health Monitoring 2009: From System Integration to Autonomous Systems (pp. 870-877). DEStech Publications, Inc. Stanford University, California, USA. Original article available here


In this work, we show the ability to communicate wirelessly through solid structures using acoustic signals. Wireless acoustic communications were used to communicate through both an aluminum panel and a Carbon Fiber Composite (CFC) panel. These media represent surface materials for aerospace structures. The acoustic communications signals were generated using a piezoelectric transducer, specifically a lead zirconate titanate (PZT) piezoceramic. The receiver used was a Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) ultrasonic sensor. Surface coupled FBGs were used for both the aluminum and the CFC, and an embedded FBG was also used in the CFC. A reference PZT receiver was used for baseline comparison. In this paper, we present results showing the performance of the communications channels, and sample communications signals. Results are presented using both the aluminum and CFC panels as the communications medium. The frequency response, transfer function and transient response (at resonance) of the communications channels are shown. Due to the frequency response of the communications channel, PSK was chosen as the modulation method. Successful communication was achieved through the communications channels.