Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Daniel P. Hess, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Autar Kaw, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Craig Lusk, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sergei Ostapenko, Ph.D.


audible, modes, frequency response, solar cells, vibration


This thesis is about detection of cracks in single-crystalline silicon wafers by using a vibration method in the form of an impact test. The goal to detect cracks from vibration measurements introduced by striking the silicon wafer with an impact hammer. Such a method would reduce costs in the production of solar cells. It is an inexpensive, relatively simple method which if commercialized could be used as an efficient in-line production quality test.

A hammer is used as the actuator and a microphone as the response sensor. A signal analyzer is used to collect the data and to compute frequency response. Parameters of interest are audible natural frequencies, peak magnitudes, damping ratio and coherence.

The data reveals that there are differences in frequency between the cracked silicon wafers and the non-cracked silicon wafers. The resonant peaks in the defective wafers were not as sharp (i.e., lightly damped) and occurred at lower frequencies (i.e., lower stiffness) with a lower magnitude and a higher damping ratio. These differences could be used to detect damaged product in a solar cell production line.