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J Acoust Soc Am. 2006 Jan;119(1):251-61.

Pressure-sensitive paint as a distributed optical microphone array.

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School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


Pressure-sensitive paint is presented and evaluated in this article as a quantitative technique for measurement of acoustic pressure fluctuations. This work is the culmination of advances in paint technology which enable unsteady measurements of fluctuations over 10 kHz at pressure levels as low as 125 dB. Pressure-sensitive paint may be thought of as a nano-scale array of optical microphones with a spatial resolution limited primarily by the resolution of the imaging device. Thus, pressure-sensitive paint is a powerful tool for making high-amplitude sound pressure measurements. In this work, the paint was used to record ensemble-averaged, time-resolved, quantitative measurements of two-dimensional mode shapes in an acoustic resonance cavity. A wall-mounted speaker generated nonlinear, standing acoustic waves in a rigid enclosure measuring 216 mm wide, 169 mm high, and 102 mm deep. The paint recorded the acoustic surface pressures of the (1,1,0) mode shape at approximately 1.3 kHz and a sound pressure level of 145.4 dB. Results from the paint are compared with data from a Kulite pressure transducer, and with linear acoustic theory. The paint may be used as a diagnostic technique for ultrasonic tests where high spatial resolution is essential, or in nonlinear acoustic applications such as shock tubes.


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