Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Marcellin Zahui


Beam and plate dynamics are often measured using accelerometers and in some cases laserbased systems. Natural frequencies, mode shapes, and deflections are then derived from these measurements. The work presented here describes a method to directly measure the deflection curve of a vibrating beam and plate using piezoelectric films. The sensor consists of constant shape segment of PolyVinyliDene Fluoride (PVDF) films bonded to the surface of the structure. We show in here that each segment of the sensor measures the deflection slope at its particular location. The overall lateral displacement curve of the structure (beam/plate) is calculated from these slopes using central difference formulas. In this work, the equations of the sensor are presented along with the results of the numerical verifications. Numerical simulations are executed through MATLAB, whereas Multiphysics simulation is accomplished through ANSYS, and the results of these simulations are compared to the experimental results. The results indicate that the proposed sensors can be used to efficiently and respectively measure the lateral vibration displacements curves of beams and plates with various boundary conditions.