Health monitoring of composite plates using acoustic wave propagation, continuous sensors and wavelet analysis

A. Ghoshal, W. N. Martin, M. J. Schulz, Aditi Chattopadhyay, W. H. Prosser, H. S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Health monitoring of aerospace structures can be done passively by listening for acoustic waves generated by cracks, impact damage and delaminations, or actively by propagating diagnostic stress waves and interpreting the parameters that characterize the wave travel. This paper investigates modeling of flexural wave propagation in a plate and the design of sensors to detect damage in plates based on stress wave parameters. To increase understanding of the actual physical process of wave propagation, a simple model is developed to simulate wave propagation in a plate with boundaries. The waves can be simulated by applied forces and moments in the model either to represent passive damage growth or active wave generation using piezoceramic actuators. For active wave generation, the model considers a piezoceramic patch bonded perfectly to a quasi-isotropic glass-epoxy composite plate. Distributed sensors are used on the plate and are modeled as being constructed using active fiber composite and piezoceramic materials. For active wave generation, a moment impulse is generated by the actuation of a piezoceramic patch. The waves generated from the patch are detected by the distributed sensor. For passive sensing of acoustic waves, a step function is used to simulate an acoustic emission from a propagating damage. The resulting acoustic wave is measured by the distributed sensor and produces micro-strains in the sensor nodes. The strains produce a single voltage signal output from the distributed sensor. Computational simulations and animations of acoustic wave propagation in a plate are discussed in the article. A new method to locate the source of an acoustic emission using the time history of the dominant lower frequency components of the flexural wave mode detected by continuous sensors is also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-112
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Active wave propagation
  • Distributed sensor
  • Health monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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