Acoustic emission (AE) sensors have been fabricated using both soft- and hard-type lead-free (Na0.5 K0.5) Nb O3 -based ceramics. The acoustic and electromechanical properties of the ceramics have been determined using the resonance technique. The lead-free AE sensors were calibrated using a laser source and compared to a commercial sensor. A lead zirconate titanate (PZT) 5H ceramics AE sensor has also been fabricated and calibrated for comparison. It was found that the sensitivity of lead-free AE sensors is comparable to that of the lead-based PZT sensor. To evaluate the sensors for potential application, they have been used in the detection of AE in an impact test. The lead-free sensors can reproduce AE signals accurately without giving artifacts and have potential use in commercial AE systems.
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