Global crack detection for aircraft monitoring using bispectral analysis

C.R.P. Courtney, B.W. Drinkwater, S.A. Neild, P.D. Wilcox

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


A global non-destructive testing technique for detecting cracks has been developed aimed at the structural health monitoring of aircraft. The technique uses the bispectrum to analyse the mixing of two ultrasonic sinusoidal waves in a sample. The bispectrum's insensitivity to noise allows more sensitive detection of mixing signals than the power spectrum. Two sinusoidal signals are generated by signal generators, amplified and then applied to a piezoceramic disk attached to a sample. The sample is excited at very-high-order modes of vibration. The response of the sample is measured by a second piezoceramic disk and the received signal analysed using the bispectrum signal-processing technique. Frequency mixing occurs as a result of the nonlinear behaviour of cracks in the structure. Experiments with fatigue-cracked steel beams demonstrate that fatigue cracks produce a strong mixing effect and that the bispectrum signal relating to the frequency mixing is sensitive to the length of the crack; allowing the quantification of the crack length. Progress is being made in applying the technique to more practical situations: the behaviour of the technique with regards and the technique has been tested on thin aluminium samples. The experimental development of the technique has been supported by a bilinear spring model.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd European Workshop - Structural Health Monitoring 2006
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


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