Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Marcellin Zahui


Piezoelectricity was discovered in 1880 by Jacques and Pierre Curie. Its application has since been extended to actuators and sensors, widely used in industry, automotive, and aerospace applications. The last two decades have seen intensive research in piezoelectric theory in an effort to effectively capture and control the distinctive coupling of electricity and elasticity. However, due to the complexity of the theory involved, finite element and numerical methods are often used in the process. Limited analytical exact solutions are also found in literature. The objective of this work is to devise a multiphysics modeling and simulation process to develop thin piezoelectric film sensors to measure the vibration of structures with complex shapes and boundary conditions. First, the output charge of generic piezoelectric films, respectively attached to a beam and a plate, is modeled using ANSYS and experimentally verified. Second, the modeling method is extended to a cylindrical shell followed by experimental verifications. Appropriate material properties obtained from past researches were incorporated as required. Finally, shaped sensors for the measurement of specific dynamic characteristics of a beam, plate and cylindrical shell respectively, are developed and experimentally validated. The results show that Multiphysics modeling can be an efficient design tool and be effectively used to simulate complex systems. This tool can be also used to detect or simulate design flaws and errors.