Beam Diffraction Effects in the Backward Wave Regions of Viscoelastic Leaky Lamb Modes for Plate Transmission at Normal Incidence

Plane-wave theory for fluid-embedded isotropic plates is often used in ultrasonic guided-wave applications, and to estimate wall thickness, corrosion, or sound velocities in plates and pipes. In such structures, measured ultrasonic transmission through the solid material is affected by acoustic beam diffraction effects, and the results may deviate from plane-wave descriptions, which are insufficient to describe the complex effects that occur. When exciting a fluid-embedded steel plate with a pulsed ultrasonic beam at normal incidence, resonance frequency downshift, axial sound pressure level (SPL) increase, and beam narrowing have been observed, for measured resonance peaks in the frequency regions of certain leaky Lamb mode branches of the plate. In the ranges of other leaky Lamb mode branches, the effects observed are different. Measurements, finite element and angular spectrum modeling are used to indicate a close connection between these beam diffraction phenomena and the backward wave characteristics of certain leaky Lamb mode pairs, in the frequency and Poisson’s ratio regions around coincidence of two Lamb mode cutoff frequencies of similar symmetry. In particular, such observations made for the steel plate’s fundamental thickness-extensional (TE) mode appear to be caused by acoustic beam excitation of the backward wave regions of the Svl−2 and Svl2 leaky Lamb modes.