Investigation on Wave Propagation Characteristics in Plates and Pipes for Identification of Structural Defect Locations



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For successful identification of structural defects in plates and pipes, it is essential to understand structural wave propagation characteristics such as dispersion relations. Analytical approaches to identify the dispersion relations of homogeneous, simple plates and circular pipes have been investigated by many researchers. However, for plates or pipes with irregular cross-sectional configurations or multi-layered composite structures, it is almost impossible to obtain the analytical dispersion relations and associated mode shapes. In addition, full numerical modeling approaches such as finite element (FE) methods are not economically feasible for high (e.g., ultrasonic) frequency analyses where an extremely large number of discretized meshes are required, resulting in significantly expensive computation.

In order to address these limitations, Hybrid Analytical/Finite Element Methods (HAFEMs) are developed to model composite plates and pipes in a computationally-efficient manner. When a pipe system is used to transport a fluid, the dispersion curves obtained from a ?hollow? pipe model can mislead non-destructive evaluation (NDE) results of the pipe system. In this study, the HAFEM procedure with solid elements is extended by developing fluid elements and solid-fluid boundary conditions, resulting in the dispersion curves of fluid-filled pipes. In addition, a HAFEM-based acoustic transfer function approach is suggested to consider a long pipe system assembled with multiple pipe sections with different cross-sections. For the validation of the proposed methods, experimental and full FE modeling results are compared to the results obtained from the HAFEM models.

In order to detect structural defect locations in shell structures from defect-induced, subtle wave reflection signals and eliminate direct-excitation-induced and boundary-reflected, relatively-strong wave signals, a time-frequency MUSIC algorithm is applied to ultrasonic wave data measured by using an array of piezoelectric transducers. A normalized, structurally-damped, cylindrical 2-D steering vector is proposed to increase the spatial resolution of time-frequency MUSIC power results. A cross-shaped array is selected over a circular or linear array to further improve the spatial resolution and to avoid the mirrored virtual image effects of a linear array. Here, it is experimentally demonstrated that the proposed time-frequency MUSIC beamforming procedure can be used to identify structural defect locations on an aluminum plate by distinguishing the defect-induced waves from both the excitation-generated and boundary-reflected waves.



Non-destructive evaluation (NDE), Acoustic Transfer Function Approach, Dispersion Curves, Hybrid Analytical Finite Element Method (HAFEM), Multiple Signal Classification (MUSIC)