We analyzed the acoustic waves propagating in a sphere to establish a useful guideline for the design of NDE apparatus and ball surface acoustic wave (SAW) device exploiting the diffraction-free propagation of SAW on a sphere. First, we calculated the laser-generated acoustic displacements both under ablation condition and under thermoelastic condition and verified experimentally the validity of the calculation. Next, the acoustic waves excited by out-of-plane stress and those excited by in-plane stress were compared. The results showed that when the out-of-plane stress was applied, the relative amplitudes of the bulk waves to that of the SAW were larger and the number of bulk waves was larger than that when the in-plane stress was applied, while the SAW had similar waveforms in each case. The ratio of the relative amplitude of the bulk waves for the out-of-plane stress and the in-plane stress was 3.1:1 at φ1 = 90° and 1.67:1 at φ1 = 0°. The large amplitude for the out-of-plane stress can be explained by wide directivities of bulk waves. Consequently, we found that it is necessary for ball SAW device to select a piezoelectric material and form of interdigital transducer so that the in-plane stress becomes dominant.
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