Spatially distributed modal voltages and sensing signal generations of a distributed piezoelectric sensor layer laminated on spherical shells of revolution are investigated in this study. The generic sensing signal equation is derived based on the direct piezoelectric effect, the Gauss theory, the open-circuit assumption, the Maxwell equation, and also the generic double-curvature thin shell theory. Due to difficulties in analytical solution procedures, assumed mode shape functions based on the bending approximation theory are used in the modal signal expressions and analyses. Spatially distributed electromechanical characteristics resulting from various meridional and circumferential membrane/bending strain components are evaluated and major signal sources are identified. Analytical results suggest that the spatially distributed modal voltages clearly illustrate the distinct modal behavior, similar to mode shapes. The major signal source of a free-edge hemispherical shell is the circumferential bending component. Accordingly, circumferential layout of distributed sensor strips would provide effective monitoring and diagnosis of free hemispheric shells.

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