(19)
(11)EP 3 706 435 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
09.09.2020 Bulletin 2020/37

(21)Application number: 18871962.9

(22)Date of filing:  28.09.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H04R 17/00(2006.01)
H01L 41/053(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2018/036272
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/087634 (09.05.2019 Gazette  2019/19)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 02.11.2017 JP 2017212681

(71)Applicant: Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
Nagaokakyo-shi, Kyoto 617-8555 (JP)

(72)Inventor:
  • HATAKEYAMA, Hirotoshi
    Nagaokakyo-shi Kyoto 617-8555 (JP)

(74)Representative: Reeve, Nicholas Edward 
Reddie & Grose LLP The White Chapel Building 10 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 8QS
London E1 8QS (GB)

  


(54)ULTRASONIC SENSOR


(57) An ultrasonic sensor includes a casing (1) and a piezoelectric vibrator element (7). The casing (1) includes a first unit (5) made of a metal and a second unit (6) made of a resin. The first unit (5) is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in a first direction (91). The second unit (6) is connected to one end of the first unit (5) in the first direction (91) and includes a cylindrical section (61) and a bottom plate (62). The cylindrical section (61) extends in the first direction (91). The bottom plate (62) is a disk-like portion which closes an end of the cylindrical section (61) positioned farther away from the first unit (5) in the first direction (91). The piezoelectric vibrator element (7) is mounted on the bottom plate (62).




Description

Technical Field



[0001] The present invention relates to an ultrasonic sensor.

Background Art



[0002] An ultrasonic sensor including a casing formed in a cylindrical shape with a closed bottom is disclosed in Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. H11-266497 (Patent Document 1). The casing is formed as a combination of a cylindrical section and a planar vibrator that are bonded to each other by an adhesive material. In Patent Document 1, an insulating material, such as engineering plastics, is used for the cylindrical section, while a conductive member, such as aluminum, is used for the vibrator. An ultrasonic sensor having a similar structure is disclosed in Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 2000-23295 (Patent Document 2).

Citation List


Patent Document



[0003] 

Patent Document 1: Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. H11-266497

Patent Document 2: Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 2000-23295


Summary of Invention


Technical Problem



[0004] It is desirable that an ultrasonic sensor be able to increase the sound pressure to be higher and the frequency bandwidth to be wider without reducing the resonant frequency. When a vibrator vibrates, a stress is likely to concentrate at the geometric discontinuities between the inner surface of a planar section, which corresponds to a vibrator, and the inner peripheral surface of a cylindrical section. If the planar vibrator made of a metal and the cylindrical section made of a resin are bonded by adhesive, the above-described geometric discontinuities coincide with the bonding joint portion between the metal and the resin. In this manner, if the bonding joint portion is located at the same position as the geometric discontinuities, over the repeated use of the ultrasonic sensor, a breakage may occur in the bonding joint portion due to the stress concentration.

[0005] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an ultrasonic sensor which is able to increase the sound pressure to be higher and the frequency bandwidth to be wider without reducing the resonant frequency and also to reduce the occurrence of a breakage caused by the stress concentration at the geometric discontinuities. Solution to Problem

[0006] To achieve the above-described object, an ultrasonic sensor according to the present invention includes a casing and a piezoelectric vibrator element. The casing includes first and second units. The first unit is made of a metal. The second unit is made of a resin. The first unit is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in a first direction. The second unit is connected to one end of the first unit in the first direction and includes a cylindrical section and a bottom plate. The cylindrical section extends in the first direction. The bottom plate is a disk-like portion which closes an end of the cylindrical section positioned farther away from the first unit in the first direction. The piezoelectric vibrator element is mounted on the bottom plate.

Advantageous Effects of Invention



[0007] According to the present invention, it is possible to implement an ultrasonic sensor which is able to increase the sound pressure to be higher and the frequency bandwidth to be wider without reducing the resonant frequency and also to reduce the occurrence of a breakage caused by the stress concentration at the geometric discontinuities.

Brief Description of Drawings



[0008] 

[Fig. 1] Fig. 1 is a side view of an ultrasonic sensor according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 2] Fig. 2 is a plan view of the ultrasonic sensor according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 3] Fig. 3 is a sectional view of the ultrasonic sensor according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 4] Fig. 4 is a perspective view only illustrating a casing removed from the ultrasonic sensor according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 5] Fig. 5 is a sectional view only illustrating the casing and a piezoelectric vibrator element of the ultrasonic sensor according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 6] Fig. 6 is a side view of an ultrasonic sensor according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 7] Fig. 7 is a sectional view only illustrating a casing and a piezoelectric vibrator element of the ultrasonic sensor according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 8] Fig. 8 is a side view of an ultrasonic sensor according to a third embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 9] Fig. 9 is a sectional view only illustrating a casing and a piezoelectric vibrator element of the ultrasonic sensor according to the third embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 10] Fig. 10 is a perspective view illustrating the ultrasonic sensor according to the third embodiment shown in Fig. 8 to make the bottom surface viewable.

[Fig. 11] Fig. 11 is a side view of an ultrasonic sensor according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 12] Fig. 12 is a sectional view only illustrating a casing and a piezoelectric vibrator element of the ultrasonic sensor according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention.

[Fig. 13] Fig. 13 illustrates a 1/4 model used in the simulations.

[Fig. 14] Fig. 14 is a first graph illustrating the simulation results.

[Fig. 15] Fig. 15 is a second graph illustrating the simulation results.

[Fig. 16] Fig. 16 is a third graph illustrating the simulation results.

[Fig. 17] Fig. 17 is a plan view illustrating a first example of the shape of a hollow portion provided in the casing.

[Fig. 18] Fig. 18 is a plan view illustrating a second example of the shape of a hollow portion provided in the casing.

[Fig. 19] Fig. 19 is a plan view illustrating a third example of the shape of a hollow portion provided in the casing.


Description of Embodiments



[0009] The dimension ratios among the elements in the drawings do not necessarily represent the actual ratios, and may be shown in an exaggerating manner for the sake of representation. In the following description, while referring to the positional concept of "top" or "bottom" ("on" or "under"), it does not necessarily mean the absolute position of "top" or "bottom" ("on" or "under"), and may mean the relative position of "top" or "bottom" ("on" or "under") in the orientations of the elements in the drawings.

(First Embodiment)



[0010] An ultrasonic sensor according to a first embodiment of the present invention will be described below with reference to Figs. 1 through 5. A side view of an ultrasonic sensor 101 according to this embodiment is shown in Fig. 1. A plan view of the ultrasonic sensor 101 is shown in Fig. 2. The ultrasonic sensor 101 includes a casing 1 formed in a cylindrical shape with a closed bottom and two terminals 8 protruding from the casing 1. A sectional view of the ultrasonic sensor 101 is shown in Fig. 3. The ultrasonic sensor 101 includes a piezoelectric vibrator element 7. The casing 1 has a hollow portion 2. The casing 1 includes a first unit 5 and a second unit 6. The first unit 5 and the second unit 6 are bonded to each other. The mere casing 1 removed from the ultrasonic sensor 101 is shown in Fig. 4. A sectional view only illustrating the casing 1 and the piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is shown in Fig. 5.

[0011] The first unit 5 is made of a metal and is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in a first direction 91. The second unit 6 is made of a resin and is connected to one end of the first unit 5 in the first direction 91. The second unit 6 is preferably made of a resin which excels in heat resistance and chemical resistance and which also has a high mechanical strength, such as polyethersulfone, polyphenylene sulfide, and polynonamethylene terephthalamide. In this manner, the casing 1 includes the first unit 5 and the second unit 6 which are made of different materials. The second unit 6 includes a cylindrical section 61 and a bottom plate 62. The cylindrical section 61 is connected to one end of the first unit 5 in the first direction 91 and is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in the first direction 91. The bottom plate 62 is a disk-like portion which closes the end of the cylindrical section 61 positioned farther away from the first unit 5 in the first direction 91. The piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is mounted on the second unit 6, and more specifically, on a surface 16 of the bottom plate 62 positioned closer to the first unit 5.

[0012] As shown in Fig. 3, the piezoelectric vibrator element 7 and each of the terminals 8 are electrically connected to each other via wiring 9. A filler 12 fills the inside of the hollow portion 2. The piezoelectric vibrator element 7 and the wiring 9 are sealed by the filler 12. A lid 11 is disposed to cover the entrance of the hollow portion 2. The filler 12 is covered by the lid 11. The configuration with the lid 11 is only an example. The provision of the lid 11 may be omitted.

[0013] In the ultrasonic sensor 101, the geometric discontinuities in the casing 1 are located at a position corresponding to the second unit 6. That is, the geometric discontinuities in the casing 1 are located at a position different from the joint portion where the first and second units 5 and 6 are bonded to each other. This makes it unlikely to cause a breakage at the joint portion due to the stress concentration at the geometric discontinuities even if the ultrasonic sensor 101 is repeatedly used. According to this embodiment, it is thus possible to implement an ultrasonic sensor which is able to increase the sound pressure to be higher and the frequency bandwidth to be wider without reducing the resonant frequency and also to reduce the occurrence of a breakage caused by the stress concentration at the geometric discontinuities. The simulation results validating the advantages will be discussed later.

[0014] In the ultrasonic sensor according to this embodiment, the stress applied to the bonding surface between different materials forming the two units of the casing can be decreased. The ultrasonic sensor can thus reduce the occurrence of failures caused by the stress applied to the bonding surface.

[0015] The metal forming the first unit 5 may be aluminum, for example. Aluminum may also be used in the embodiments described below.

[0016] In this embodiment, the terminals 8 are formed in a tubular shape. However, this is only an example, and terminals may be formed in another shape. The terminals may not necessarily stand straight. The terminals may be a metal film extending along the surface of the first unit 5. The terminals may be flexible wiring. These modifications of the terminals may also be made in the embodiments described below.

(Second Embodiment)



[0017] An ultrasonic sensor according to a second embodiment of the present invention will be described below with reference to Figs. 6 and 7. A side view of an ultrasonic sensor 102 according to this embodiment is shown in Fig. 6. The ultrasonic sensor 102 includes a casing 1c formed in a cylindrical shape with a closed bottom and two terminals 8 protruding from the casing 1c. A sectional view only illustrating the casing 1c and a piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is shown in Fig. 7. The ultrasonic sensor 102 includes the piezoelectric vibrator element 7. The casing 1c has a hollow portion 2. The casing 1c includes a first unit 5 and a second unit 6c. The first unit 5 and the second unit 6c are bonded to each other.

[0018] The first unit 5 is made of a metal, such as aluminum, and is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in a first direction 91. The second unit 6c is made of CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) and is connected to one end of the first unit 5 in the first direction 91. The second unit 6c includes a cylindrical section 61c and a bottom plate 62c. The cylindrical section 61c is connected to one end of the first unit 5 in the first direction 91 and is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in the first direction 91. The bottom plate 62c is a disk-like portion which closes the end of the cylindrical section 61c positioned farther away from the first unit 5 in the first direction 91. The piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is mounted on the second unit 6c, and more specifically, on a surface 16 of the bottom plate 62c positioned closer to the first unit 5. The second unit 6c is integrally formed by the CFRP. The matrix forming the CFRP is preferably a resin which excels in heat resistance and chemical resistance and which also has a high mechanical strength, such as polyethersulfone, polyphenylene sulfide, and polynonamethylene terephthalamide. The carbon fiber in the CFRP may be either one of continuous fiber and discontinuous fiber. The CFRP used in the second unit 6c including the bottom plate 62c preferably has a high elastic modulus. In this embodiment, the second unit 6c is made of CFRP having an elastic modulus of 20 Gpa or higher. In this manner, the casing 1c includes the first unit 5 and the second unit 6c which are made of different materials.

[0019] The configurations of the other elements are similar to those of the first embodiment.

[0020] In this embodiment, too, advantages similar to those of the first embodiment can be obtained. To maintain the resonant frequency, a material having a high elastic modulus is preferably used for a portion which is displaced by a considerable amount by vibration. In this embodiment, the bottom plate 62c of the second unit 6c, which is a portion displaced by a considerable amount by vibration, is advantageously made of CFRP, which is a material having a high elastic modulus.

(Third Embodiment)



[0021] An ultrasonic sensor according to a third embodiment of the present invention will be described below with reference to Figs. 8 through 10. A side view of an ultrasonic sensor 103 according to this embodiment is shown in Fig. 8. The ultrasonic sensor 103 includes a casing 1d formed in a cylindrical shape with a closed bottom and two terminals 8 protruding from the casing 1d. A sectional view only illustrating the casing 1d and a piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is shown in Fig. 9. The ultrasonic sensor 103 includes the piezoelectric vibrator element 7. The casing 1d has a hollow portion 2. The casing 1d includes a first unit 5 and a second unit 6d. The first unit 5 and the second unit 6d are bonded to each other.

[0022]  The first unit 5 is made of a metal, such as aluminum, and is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in a first direction 91. The second unit 6d is connected to one end of the first unit 5 in the first direction 91. The second unit 6d includes a cylindrical section 61d and a bottom plate 62d. The cylindrical section 61d is connected to one end of the first unit 5 in the first direction 91 and is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in the first direction 91. The bottom plate 62d is a disk-like portion which closes the end of the cylindrical section 61d positioned farther away from the first unit 5 in the first direction 91. The bottom plate 62d is made of CFRP and a resin different from CFRP. More specifically, a portion of the bottom plate 62d on which the piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is mounted is made of CFRP, while the other portion of the bottom plate 62d is made of a resin different from CFRP. The cylindrical section 61d is made of a resin different from CFRP. The matrix forming the CFRP is preferably a resin which excels in heat resistance and chemical resistance and which also has a high mechanical strength, such as polyethersulfone, polyphenylene sulfide, and polynonamethylene terephthalamide. The carbon fiber in the CFRP may be either one of continuous fiber and discontinuous fiber. The CFRP used in the portion of the bottom plate 62d on which the piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is mounted preferably has a high elastic modulus. In this embodiment, the portion of the bottom plate 62d on which the piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is mounted is made of CFRP having an elastic modulus of 20 Gpa or higher. "A resin different from CFRP" forming part of the bottom plate 62d and the cylindrical section 61d is preferably a resin which excels in heat resistance and chemical resistance and which also has a high mechanical strength, such as polyethersulfone, polyphenylene sulfide, and polynonamethylene terephthalamide. In this manner, the casing 1d includes the first unit 5 and the second unit 6d which are made of different materials. The piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is mounted on the second unit 6d, and more specifically, on a surface 16 of the bottom plate 62d positioned closer to the first unit 5. A perspective view illustrating the ultrasonic sensor 103 in Fig. 8 to make the bottom surface, that is, the surface used for sending and receiving ultrasonic waves, viewable, is shown in Fig. 10. In Fig. 10, the boundary between the portion of the second unit 6d made of a resin and the other portion made of CFRP can be seen.

[0023] The configurations of the other elements are similar to those of the first embodiment.

[0024] In this embodiment, too, advantages similar to those of the first embodiment can be obtained. To maintain the resonant frequency, a material having a high elastic modulus is preferably used for a portion to be subjected to a high stress by vibration. In this embodiment, "the portion of the bottom plate 62d of the second unit 6d on which the piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is mounted", which is a portion displaced by a considerable amount by vibration, is advantageously made of CFRP, which is a material having a high elastic modulus. CFRP is relatively an expensive material, while a resin is less expensive. In this embodiment, to form the second unit 6d, CFRP is used only for part of the bottom plate 62d, thereby making it possible to reduce the cost.

[0025] The bottom plate 62d and the portion including the cylindrical section 61d are preferably welded to each other. The portion including the cylindrical section 61d is a portion made of a resin. The portion of the bottom plate 62d is made of CFRP, which also contains resin components. "The portion including the cylindrical section 61d" is a portion of the bottom plate 62d other than the portion of the bottom plate 62d on which the piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is mounted. If the portion including the cylindrical section 61d and the bottom plate 62d are welded to each other, they can be firmly bonded to each other, thereby improving the reliability of the casing 1d. This further leads to enhancing the reliability of the ultrasonic sensor 103.

(Fourth Embodiment)



[0026] An ultrasonic sensor according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention will be described below with reference to Figs. 11 and 12. A side view of an ultrasonic sensor 104 according to this embodiment is shown in Fig. 11. The ultrasonic sensor 104 includes a casing 1e formed in a cylindrical shape with a closed bottom and two terminals 8 protruding from the casing 1e. A sectional view only illustrating the casing 1e and a piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is shown in Fig. 12. The ultrasonic sensor 104 includes the piezoelectric vibrator element 7. The casing 1e has a hollow portion 2. The casing 1e includes a first unit 5 and a second unit 6e. The first unit 5 and the second unit 6e are bonded to each other.

[0027] The first unit 5 is made of a metal, such as aluminum, and is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in a first direction 91. The second unit 6e is connected to one end of the first unit 5 in the first direction 91. The second unit 6e includes a cylindrical section 61e and a bottom plate 62e. The cylindrical section 61e is connected to one end of the first unit 5 in the first direction 91 and is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in the first direction 91. The bottom plate 62e is a disk-like portion which closes the end of the cylindrical section 61e positioned farther away from the first unit 5 in the first direction 91. The piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is mounted on the second unit 6e, and more specifically, on a surface 16 of the bottom plate 62e positioned closer to the first unit 5. The bottom plate 62e includes a bottom-plate first layer 13 and a bottom-plate second layer 14. The bottom-plate first layer 13 is positioned at the side of the bottom plate 62e closer to the first unit 5 in the first direction 91. The bottom-plate first layer 13 is made of CFRP. The bottom-plate second layer 14 is positioned at the side of the bottom plate 62e farther away from the first unit 5 in the first direction 91 and is superposed on the bottom-plate first layer 13. The bottom-plate second layer 14 is made of a resin different from CFRP. In this manner, the bottom plate 62e is made of CFRP and a resin different from CFRP. More specifically, the bottom-plate first layer 13 of the bottom plate 62e on which the piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is mounted is made of CFRP, while the bottom-plate second layer 14 of the bottom plate 62e is made of a resin different from CFRP. The cylindrical section 61e is made of the same resin as the bottom-plate second layer 14. The matrix forming the CFRP is preferably a resin which excels in heat resistance and chemical resistance and which also has a high mechanical strength, such as polyethersulfone, polyphenylene sulfide, and polynonamethylene terephthalamide. The carbon fiber in the CFRP may be either one of continuous fiber and discontinuous fiber. The CFRP used in the bottom-plate first layer 13 preferably has a high elastic modulus. In this embodiment, the bottom-plate first layer 13 is made of CFRP having an elastic modulus of 20 Gpa or higher. "A resin different from CFRP" forming the bottom-plate second layer 14 and the cylindrical section 61e is preferably a resin which excels in heat resistance and chemical resistance and which also has a high mechanical strength, such as polyethersulfone, polyphenylene sulfide, and polynonamethylene terephthalamide. In this manner, the casing 1e includes the first unit 5 and the second unit 6e which are made of different materials.

[0028] The configurations of the other elements are similar to those of the first embodiment.

[0029] In this embodiment, too, advantages similar to those of the first embodiment can be obtained. In this embodiment, the outer surfaces of the casing 1e are made of a resin different from CFRP and thus present a highly aesthetic appearance. The surface of the ultrasonic sensor 104 used for sending and receiving ultrasonic waves is only made of a resin different from CFRP, which makes it easy to paint.

[0030] As is discussed in this embodiment, it is preferable that the bottom-plate second layer 14 and the cylindrical section 61e be formed integrally. This does not necessarily mean that the bottom-plate second layer 14 and the cylindrical section 61e directly contact each other. Another element may be interposed between the bottom-plate second layer 14 and the cylindrical section 61e. Integrally forming the bottom-plate second layer 14 and the cylindrical section 61e can make the surface used for sending and receiving ultrasonic waves free from joint portions between different elements, thereby maintaining a highly aesthetic appearance.

(Simulations)



[0031] As shown in Fig. 13, a 1/4 portion of a combination of a casing and the piezoelectric vibrator element 7 is extracted and is assumed as a model. For the sake of description, the ultrasonic sensor 101 of the first embodiment will be discussed by way of example while referring to the reference numerals used in the first embodiment. The first unit 5 is made of aluminum. The outer diameter of the casing 1 is 15.5 mm. The thickness T of the bottom plate 62 is 1.0 mm. When the bottom plate 62 vibrates in response to the sending or receiving of ultrasonic waves, a stress is applied mainly to a point A. The maximum principal stress at a point B, which is the innermost point at the interface between the first unit 5 and the second unit 6, is found by simulations. The displacement amount of the point B from the point A is indicated by D. The simulation results obtained by using this model are shown in Figs. 14 through 16. Fig. 14 illustrates the simulation results concerning the ultrasonic sensor 101. "Displacement of bonding position" on the horizontal axis represents the displacement amount D. "Outer diameter of casing" represents the outer diameter of the casing 1. In Fig. 14, the maximum principal stress is assumed as 100% when D=0, and the maximum principal stress ratio, that is, the maximum principal stress represented by percentage, is taken on the vertical axis. As shown in Fig. 14, increasing the displacement D of the bonding position can reduce the maximum principal stress ratio at the point B.

[0032] Regarding the ultrasonic sensor 102 of the second embodiment, too, a portion of the ultrasonic sensor 102 is similarly assumed as a model. Fig. 15 illustrates the simulation results concerning the ultrasonic sensor 102. Regarding the ultrasonic sensor 103 of the third embodiment, too, a portion of the ultrasonic sensor 103 is similarly assumed as a model. Fig. 16 illustrates the simulation results concerning the ultrasonic sensor 103. Regarding these models, too, increasing the displacement D of the bonding position can reduce the maximum principal stress ratio at the point B, as shown in Figs. 15 and 16.

(Shape of Hollow Portion)



[0033] Variations of the shape of the hollow portion provided in the casing will be discussed. In Fig. 2, as the shape of the hollow portion 2 as viewed from above, a combination of two parallel straight lines and two semicircles is shown by way of example. However, the hollow portion as viewed from above is not limited to this shape and may be formed in another shape. For example, a casing 1i shown in Fig. 17 has a hollow portion 2i. The shape of the hollow portion 2i is a circle as viewed from above. The shape of the hollow portion 2i is concentric with respect to the outer shape of the casing 1i. The casing of the ultrasonic sensor may be configured in this manner.

[0034] A casing 1j shown in Fig. 18 has a hollow portion 2j. The hollow portion 2j has a shape of a combination of two straight lines and two arcs as viewed from above. The arcs are concentric with respect to the outer shape of the casing 1j. The casing of the ultrasonic sensor may be configured in this manner.

[0035] A casing 1k shown in Fig. 19 has a hollow portion 2k. The shape of the hollow portion 2k is an ellipse as viewed from above. The casing of the ultrasonic sensor may be configured in this manner.

[0036] Some examples of the shape of the hollow portion have been discussed above. However, the shape of the hollow portion as viewed from above is not limited to these examples and may be another shape. Regarding the casing, too, the shape of the casing as viewed from above is not restricted to a circle and may be another shape.

[0037] Among the above-described embodiments, some embodiments may be combined with each other.

[0038] The disclosed embodiments are provided only for the purposes of illustration, but are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the following claims. The scope of the present invention is to be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent structures and functions.

Reference Signs List



[0039] 1, 1c, 1d, 1e casing, 2 hollow portion, 5 first unit, 6, 6c, 6d, 6e second unit, 7 piezoelectric vibrator element, 8 terminal, 9 wiring, 11 lid, 12 filler, 13 bottom-plate first layer, 14 bottom-plate second layer, 16 surface, 61, 61c, 61d, 61e cylindrical section, 62, 62c, 62d, 62e bottom plate, 91 first direction, 101, 102, 103, 104 ultrasonic sensor


Claims

1. An ultrasonic sensor comprising:

a casing; and

a piezoelectric vibrator element, wherein

the casing includes first and second units, the first unit being made of a metal, the second unit being made of a resin,

the first unit is formed in a cylindrical shape extending in a first direction, and

the second unit is connected to one end of the first unit in the first direction and includes a cylindrical section and a bottom plate, the cylindrical section extending in the first direction, the bottom plate being a disk-like portion which closes an end of the cylindrical section positioned farther away from the first unit in the first direction, the piezoelectric vibrator element being mounted on the bottom plate.


 
2. The ultrasonic sensor according to Claim 1, wherein the second unit is made of CFRP.
 
3. The ultrasonic sensor according to Claim 1, wherein the bottom plate is made of CFRP, and the cylindrical section is made of a resin different from CFRP.
 
4. The ultrasonic sensor according to Claim 3, wherein the bottom plate and a portion including the cylindrical section are welded to each other.
 
5. The ultrasonic sensor according to Claim 1, wherein:

the bottom plate includes a bottom-plate first layer and a bottom-plate second layer;

the bottom-plate first layer is made of CFRP and is positioned at a side of the bottom plate closer to the first unit in the first direction; and

the bottom-plate second layer is made of a resin different from CFRP and is positioned at a side of the bottom plate farther away from the first unit in the first direction.


 
6. The ultrasonic sensor according to Claim 5, wherein the bottom-plate second layer and the cylindrical section are integrally formed.
 




Drawing































Search report










Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description