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Beam Structure As an Acoustic Wave Sensor: A Study of the Effect of Sensor Design on Its Sensitivity to Noise

F. Akasheh[1], A. Biddle[1], W.S. Shepard Jr.[2], and B.B.B. Zhang[2]
[1]Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL, USA
[2]University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

The detection and identification of the location of a sound source is commonly done using arrays of microphones. A recent new alternative approach has been proposed which involves the use of continuous structures, such as beams or plates, as acoustic wave sensors. The sound wave impinging on the surface of the structure causes it to vibrate and the measured surface displacements can then be used to reconstruct the unknown wave form and its source location. In this work we employ finite element analysis, using COMSOL, to study the effect of different design parameters and boundary condition on the sensitivity of the sensor to noise, which reflects its suitability to the force construction requirements. The ability of COMSOL to apply loads which are functions in time and space allowed the simulation of both concentrated and sinusoidal traveling loads. For verification purposes, COMSOL was first used to simulate the transverse displacement of a beam due to a traveling concentrated load.