Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Rasim Guldiken, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Crane, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Eddins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jose Porteiro, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jing Wang, Ph.D.


Ultrasonic Bone Conduction, Piezoelectricity, Insertion Loss, Finite Element Analysis, Surface Acoustic Waves


The work and results presented in this dissertation concern two complimentary studies that are rooted in surface acoustic waves and transducer study.

Surface acoustic wave devices are utilized in a variety of fields that span biomedical applications to radio wave transmitters and receivers. Of interest in this dissertation is the study of surface acoustic wave interaction with polydimethylsiloxane. This material, commonly known as PDMS, is widely used in the microfluidic field applications in order to create channels for fluid flow on the surface of a piezoelectric substrate. The size, and type of PDMS that is created and ultimately etched on the surface of the substrate, plays a significant role in its operation, chiefly in the insertion loss levels experienced. Here, through finite element analysis, via ANSYS® 15 Finite Element Modeling software, the insertion loss levels of varying PDMS sidewall channel dimensions, from two to eight millimeters is investigated. The simulation is modeled after previously published experimental data, and the results demonstrate a clear increase in insertion loss levels with an increase in channel sidewall dimensions. Analysis of the results further show that due to the viscoelastic nature of PDMS, there is a non -linear increase of insertion loss as the sidewall dimensions thicken. There is a calculated variation of 8.31 decibels between the insertion loss created in a microfluidic device with a PDMS channel sidewall thickness of eight millimeters verse a thickness of two millimeters. Finally, examination of the results show that insertion loss levels in a device are optimized when the PDMS sidewall channels are between two and four millimeters.

The second portion of this dissertation concerns the calibration of an ultrasonic transducer. This work is inspired by the need to properly quantify the signal generated by an ultrasonic transducer, placed under a static loading condition, that will be used in measuring ultrasonic bone conducted frequency perception of human subjects. Ultrasonic perception, classified as perception beyond the typical hearing limit of approximately 20 kHz, is a subject of great interest in audiology. Among other reasons, ultrasonic signal perception in humans is of interest because the mechanism by which either the brain or the ear interprets these signals is not entirely understood. Previous studies have utilized ultrasonic transducers in order to study this ultrasonic perception; however, the calibration methods taken, were either incomplete or did not properly account for the operation conditions of the transducers. A novel transducer calibration method is detailed in this dissertation that resolves this issue and provides a reliable means by which the signal that is being created can be compared to the perception of human subjects.