Investigation of methods for data communication and power delivery through metals

David J. Graham, Jeffrey A. Neasham, Bayan S. Sharif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


When a sensor is located within a metallic housing, conveying data back to a controller or data logger is not trivial. To maintain structural integrity, or simply for ease of installation, it is often not desirable to break the wall of the vessel, preventing any hard-wired solution. The conducting nature of the structure prevents the effective use of radio communications due to skin effect. Applications involving sealed containers also have a requirement for power delivery, as the periodic changing of batteries is impractical. In this paper, a number of systems are presented for through-metal communications and power delivery. A novel noncontact electromagnetic acoustic transducer communication system is demonstrated, which is capable of data rates in excess of 1 Mb/s. Furthermore, a power transfer efficiency of approximately 4% is shown to be achievable through 20-mm-thick stainless steel using inductive coupling. These novel solutions are critically compared to previous systems based on piezoelectric transducers.

Original languageBritish English
Article number5680640
Pages (from-to)4972-4980
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Acoustic signal processing
  • inductive power transfer (IPT)
  • transducers


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