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17 April 2013 NDE of composite structures using ultrasonic guided waves
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Composite structures require a rigorous program of nondestructive inspection and maintenance to detect and characterize hidden defects at an early stage of their occurrence so that preventive measures can be taken before the structure loses its load carrying capacity or suffers from catastrophic failure. Current methods for defects detection in large aircraft and aerospace structures are slow, labor intensive and costly. This is especially true for composite structures where conventional techniques are often ineffective. Ultrasonic guided waves offer an attractive complementary tool for improving inspection techniques in relatively large plate-like structural components due to their large propagation range and sensitivity to defects in their propagation path. Since the waves are affected by the geometrical structural features (e.g. stringers) as well as harmful defects (e.g. delaminations), the application of guided waves in the NDE or SHM of real structures requires a good understanding of these interaction effects. This will help identify the defects from their distinguishing features in the signal in structural components with complex geometry. In this paper a detailed study of the interaction of guided waves with defects in an aluminum plate and a honeycomb composite sandwich structure is carried out using numerical simulations and laboratory experiments. The simpler aluminum plate is used for model validation and understanding the basic characteristics of the interaction phenomena. The agreement between the simulated waveforms and those measured from the experiments are found to be excellent in both cases indicating the possibility of applying guided wave based techniques to more realistic structures.
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Ajit Mal, Fabrizio Ricci, Himadri Samajder, and Harsh Baid "NDE of composite structures using ultrasonic guided waves", Proc. SPIE 8695, Health Monitoring of Structural and Biological Systems 2013, 86950E (17 April 2013);

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