Acoustic Emission Characterization of Damage in Composites

Marco R. Venturini Autieri
School of Engineering Sciences, University of Southampton, UK

Fluid Structure Interactions research group

A characterization of the acoustic emissions
If loading a structure causes damage such as cracking, dislocation motion or the formation or collapse of internal voids, energy will be liberated in the form of vibrations which travel through the material, which can be detected at its surface by suitably sensitive transducers. The purpose of using AE techniques to study composite materials is to determine whether there is an acoustic emission “signature,” which enables predictions of the failure or residual life of a component.

Reasons and aim
All types of aircraft suffer from structural cracking. Even though the location of the crack can often be predicted, the inspections required are costly. The identification of the exact location of the damage would make the inspections cheaper. The acoustic emissions due to damage can be separated from the noise in two ways: spatial and parametric filtering. If a spatial filtering aims at the elimination of the AE signals coming from outside an area of interest (a wing panel for instance), a parametric filtering requires characterization of either the useful signals or the aircraft noise source on one or more combination of parameters (rise time, ring count down, energy etc.) range. The main theoretical problem for an in-flight AE monitoring system is represented by the need to discern AE events from operational noise. In order to do that, at least either the operational noise or the damage noise must be identified. This research aims at the latter.

damage be possible, a For a characterisation of the t the detected acoustic necessary condition is tha l of the originating damage emissions must be typica sion of the structure. rather than, e.g., the dimen

Is it possible?

In order to answer:
I. II. Samples of different layouts and dimensio ns are prepared and tested An analysis techniqu e is developed to summ arise the main features of the large amount of AE data typical of CFRP testin g

Analysis tools
I. The variation of the frequency centroid with the progressing of the signal may be related to some characteristics

Some conclusions
• • • • In terms of characterising damage AE features are meaningless on their own Power spectra contain information on the sensor and source The positions of the source and the sensor affect the spectra Two tools have been useful: 1. Frequency centroid versus sampling time 2. Spectral peaks collected from computations at different sampling times Both show informations that would otherwise be invisible in normal power spectra The curves can be conveniently used to summarise in one graph the spectral features of the typically high number of hits collected during testing with composite strips


Identyfing the peaks in the power spectra of the progressing signal helps to resolve more details

This research is sponsored by

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