Impact localization in composite structures of arbitrary cross section

F. Ciampa, M. Meo, E. Barbieri

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This article proposes an in situ structural health monitoring method able to locate the impact source and to determine the flexural Lamb mode A0 velocity in composite structures with unknown lay-up and cross section. The algorithm is based on the differences of the stress waves measured by six surface-attached acoustic emission piezoelectric (lead zirconate titanate) sensors and is branched off into two steps. In the first step, the magnitude of the squared modulus of continuous wavelet transform, which guarantees high accuracy in the time-frequency analysis of the acoustic waves, was used to identify the time of arrival of the flexural Lamb wave. Then, the coordinates of the impact location and the group speed values are obtained by solving a set of non-linear equations through a combination of local Newton's iterative method associated with line search and polynomial backtracking techniques. The proposed method, in contrast to the current impact localization algorithms, does not require a priori knowledge of the anisotropy angular-group velocity pattern of the measured waveforms as well as the mechanical properties of the structure. To validate this method, experimental location testing was conducted on two different composite structures: a quasi-isotropic carbon fibre-reinforced plastic laminate and a sandwich panel. The results showed that source location was achieved with satisfactory accuracy (maximum error in estimation of the impact location was approximately 3 mm for quasi-isotropic carbon fibre-reinforced plastic panel and nearly 2 mm for sandwich plate), requiring little computational time (nearly 1 s). In addition, the values of the fundamental flexural Lamb mode A0 obtained from the optimization algorithm were compared with those determined by a numerical spectral finite element method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-655
Number of pages13
JournalStructural Health Monitoring - An International Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


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