Phased Array Damage Detection and Damage Classification in Guided Wave Structural Health Monitoring

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Virginia Tech


Although nondestructive evaluation techniques have been implemented in many industry fields and proved to be useful, they are generally expensive, time consuming, and the results may not always be reliable. To overcome these drawbacks, structural health monitoring (SHM) systems has received significant attention in the past two decades. As structural systems are becoming more complicated and new materials are being developed, new methodologies, theories, and approaches in SHM have been developed for damage detection, diagnosis, and prognosis.

Among the methods developed, the guided Lamb wave based SHM can be a promising technique for damage evaluation since it provides reliable damage information through signals propagating over large distance with little loss of amplitude. While this method is effective for damage assessment, the guided Lamb wave contains complicated mode characteristics, i.e. an infinite number of wave modes exist and these modes are generally dispersive. For this reason, a minimum number of wave modes and various signal processing algorithms are implemented to obtain better signal interpretations.

Phased array beamsteering is an effective means for damage detection in guided Lamb wave SHM systems. Using this method, the wave energy can be focused at localized directions or areas by controlled excitation time delay of each array element. In this research, two types of transducers are utilized as phased array elements to compare beamsteering characteristics. Monolithic piezoceramic (PZT) transducers are investigated for beamsteering by assuming omnidirectional point sources for each actuator. MacroFiber Composite (MFC) transducers with anisotropic actuation are also studied, considering the wave main lobe width, main lobe magnitude, and side lobe levels. Analysis results demonstrate that the MFC phased arrays perform better than the PZT phased arrays for a range of beamsteering angles and have reduced main lobe width and side lobe levels. Experiments using the PZT and MFC phased arrays on an aluminum plate are also performed and compared to the analysis results.

A time-frequency signal processing algorithm coupled with a machine learning method can form a robust damage diagnostic system. Four types of such algorithms, i.e. short time Fourier transform, Wigner-Ville distribution, wavelet transform, and matching pursuit, are investigated to select an appropriate algorithm for damage classification, and a spectrogram based on short time Fourier transform is adopted for its suitability. A machine learning algorithm called Adaboost is chosen due to its effectiveness and high accuracy performance. The classification is preformed using spectrograms and Adaboost for crack and corrosion damages. Artificial cracks and corrosions are created in Abaqus® to obtain the training samples consist of spectrograms. Several beam experiments in laboratory and additional simulations are also performed to get the testing samples for Adaboost. The analysis results show that not only correct damage classification is possible, but the confidence levels of each sample are acquired.



Damage Classification, Signal Processing, Adaboost, Structural Health Monitoring, Phased Array Beamsteering, Damage Detection