Understanding Composite Hydrophones' Sensitivity at Low Frequency

31 May 2013

In order to reduce cost, the MOD are attempting to reduce the number of array types fitted to their assets. There is also a requirement for the arrays to increase their frequency coverage. A wide bandwidth capability is thus needed from a single array. The need for high sensitivity and comparatively high frequencies of operation has led to the view that 1 3 composites are suitable hydrophones for this purpose. These hydrophones are used widely in ultra-sonics, but are not generally used down to the frequency of the new arrays.

Experimental work using a single hydrophone (small in terms of wavelengths) has shown that the sensitivity drops significantly as the frequency approaches the bottom of the required band, and then recovers as the frequency reduces further. Complex computer modelling appears to suggest the loss in sensitivity is due to a "lateral mode" where the hydrophone "breathes" in and out. In order to engineer a solution, the mechanics of the cause of this problem and the associated parameters of the materials need to be identified (e.g. is changing the 1 3 filler material the best option?). In order to achieve this understanding, a mathematical model of the 1 3 composite hydrophone (ceramic pegs and filler) is required that can be used to explain why the hydrophone changes from the simple compression and expansion in the direction of travel of the wave front to a lateral "breathing" mode.

More details available from gower@maths.ox.ac.uk

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