Novel characterization method for fibrous materials using non-contact acoustics: Material properties revealed by ultrasonic perturbations

Thamizhisai Periyaswamy, Karthikeyan Balasubramanian, Christopher Pastore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Fibrous materials are unique hierarchical complex structures exhibiting a range of mechanical, thermal, optical and electrical properties. The inherent discontinuity at micro and macro levels, heterogeneity and multi-scale porosity differentiates fibrous materials from other engineering materials that are typically continuum in nature. These structural complexities greatly influence the techniques and modalities that can be applied to characterize fibrous materials. Typically, the material response to an applied external force is measured and used as a characteristic number of the specimen. In general, a range of equipment is in use to obtain these numbers to signify the material properties. Nevertheless, obtaining these numbers for materials like fiber ensembles is often time consuming, destructive, and requires multiple modalities. It is hypothesized that the material response to an applied acoustic frequency would provide a robust alternative characterization mode for rapid and non-destructive material analysis. This research proposes applying air-coupled ultrasonic acoustics to characterize fibrous materials. Ultrasonic frequency waves transmitted through fibrous assemblies were feature extracted to understand the correlation between the applied frequency and the material properties. Mechanical and thermal characteristics were analyzed using ultrasonic features such as time of flight, signal velocity, power and the rate of attenuation of signal amplitude. Subsequently, these temporal and spectral characteristics were mapped with the standard low-stress mechanical and thermal properties via an empirical artificial intelligence engine. A high correlation of >0.92 (S.D. 0.06) was observed between the ultrasonic features and the standard measurements. The proposed ultrasonic technique can be used toward rapid characterization of dynamic behavior of flexible fibrous assemblies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-369
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Air-coupled ultrasonic
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Fabric testing
  • Fibrous materials
  • Low stress mechanical properties


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