Adaptive dispersion compensation and ultrasonic imaging for structural health monitoring
Hall, James Stroman
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Ultrasonic guided wave imaging methods offer a cost-effective mechanism to perform in situ structural health monitoring (SHM) of large plate-like structures, such as commercial aircraft skins, ship hulls, storage tanks, and civil structures. However, current limits in imaging quality, environmental sensitivities, and implementation costs, among other things, are preventing widespread commercial adoption. The research presented here significantly advances state of the art guided wave imaging techniques using inexpensive, spatially distributed arrays of piezoelectric transducers. Novel adaptive imaging techniques are combined with in situ estimation and compensation of propagation parameters; e.g., dispersion curves and transducer transfer functions, to reduce sensitivity to unavoidable measurement inaccuracies and significantly improve resolution and reduce artifacts in guided wave images. The techniques can be used not only to detect and locate defects or damage, but also to characterize the type of damage. The improved ability to detect, locate, and now characterize defects or damage using a sparse array of ultrasonic transducers is intended to assist in the establishment of in situ guided wave imaging as a technically and economically viable tool for long-term monitoring of plate-like engineering structures.