Hydrophone based on 3D printed polypropylene (PP) piezoelectret

Hydrophone based on 3D printed polypropylene (PP) piezoelectret

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Every year, different areas of knowledge are becoming more interested in 3D-printing technology. Recently, this technology was also proved to be feasible for creating sensitive materials such as piezoelectrets. This Letter extends the concept of a 3D printed piezoelectret to produce a pressure sensitive film that can be employed as an ultrasonic transducer for underwater applications, such as hydrophones. In order to achieve this, a two-layer polypropylene film was printed using a filament-based 3D printer. Afterwards, adhesive electrodes were attached on both sides of the film and electrical charging was applied. Later, the 3D printed film was mounted in a metal housing specially designed to keep the film in direct contact with the water and to isolate the electronic amplification. The validation was performed using a piezoelectric ceramic made of lead zirconate titanate (PZT), immersed in a water tank, to produce ultrasonic sweeps to be sensed by the 3D printed transducer. These tests revealed sensor sensitivities up to 600 mV and promote a precise detection of the acoustic resonance frequency of the PZT at 43.7 kHz.

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