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Time-domain analysis of resonant acoustic nonlinearity arising from cracks in multilayer ceramic capacitors



Ward L. Johnson, Sudook A. Kim, Grady S. White, Jaemi Herzberger, Kirsten L. Peterson, Paul R. Heyliger


Acoustic nonlinearity of cracked and uncracked multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) was characterized through time-domain analysis of resonant waveforms following tone-burst excitation. A phase-sensitive receiver was employed to measure the phase, relative to a reference sinusoid, of decaying oscillations of a resonant mode near 1 MHz that was excited through ferroelectric coupling within the barium-titanate-based ceramic of the MLCC. Amplitude dependence of the resonant frequency during decay of the oscillations was characterized through measurements of changes in the resonant phase versus time. Waveforms were analyzed by fitting the recorded RF amplitude versus time to a decaying exponential and inserting the parameters of this fit into a second function to fit the time-dependent phase, with amplitude dependence of the resonant frequency incorporated in the second function. The measurements and analyses were performed on unmounted type-1210 MLCCs before and after quenching in ice water from elevated temperatures. This thermal treatment generated surface-breaking cracks in a fraction of the specimens. Measurements of a nonlinear parameter B of the capacitors before quenching were used to set a range corresponding to plus and minus three standard deviations relative to the mean of a Gaussian fit to the distribution of this parameter. 92 % of the values of B determined for heat-treated MLCCs with cracks were outside of this +/- three standard deviations range of the as-received MLCCs, while only 10 % of the values of B for heat-treated MLCCs without visible cracks were outside this range. These results indicate that time-domain nonlinear measurements with tone-burst excitation are a promising approach for rapid nondestructive detection of cracks in MLCCs. They also illustrate the potential of this approach for nonlinear acoustic detection of structural flaws in other materials.
Proceedings Title
Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation
Conference Dates
July 26-31, 2015
Conference Location
Minneapolis, MN


acoustic resonance, acoustic nonlinearity, cracks, failure, multilayer ceramic capacitors, nondestructive evaluation


Johnson, W. , Kim, S. , White, G. , Herzberger, J. , Peterson, K. and Heyliger, P. (2016), Time-domain analysis of resonant acoustic nonlinearity arising from cracks in multilayer ceramic capacitors, Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, Minneapolis, MN, [online], (Accessed February 27, 2024)
Created May 13, 2016, Updated November 10, 2018