A piezoelectric laminate theory that uses the piezoelectric phenomenon to effect distributed control and sensing of structural vibration of a flexible plate has been used to develop a class of distributed sensor/actuators, that of modal sensors/actuators. The one-dimensional modal sensors/actuator equations are first derived theoretically and then examined experimentally. These modal equations indicate that distributed piezoelectric sensors/actuators can be adopted to measure/excite specific modes of one-dimensional plates and beams. If constructed correctly, actuator/observer spillover will not be present in systems adopting these types of sensors/actuators. A mode 1 and a mode 2 sensor for a one-dimensional cantilever plate were constructed and tested to examine the applicability of the modal sensors/actuators. A modal coordinate analyzer which allows us to measure any specific modal coordinate on-line real-time is proposed. Finally, a way to create a special two-dimensional modal sensor is presented.

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