Characterization of fatigue damage in A36 steel specimens using nonlinear Rayleigh surface waves
Walker, Simon Valentin
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A36 steel is a commonly used material in civil engineering structures where fatigue damage can lead to catastrophic failure. In this research, nonlinear Rayleigh surface waves are used to characterize damage in A36 steel specimens caused by monotonic tension and low cycle fatigue. Fatigue damage produces the increased acoustic nonlinearity that leads to the generation of measurable higher harmonics in an initially monochromatic Rayleigh wave signal. One specimen is subjected to static tension and four specimens are used for low cycle fatigue tests in the tension-tension mode with a constant stress amplitude. The fatigue tests are interrupted at different numbers of cycles for the nonlinear ultrasonic measurements. Tone burst Rayleigh wave signals are generated and detected using a pair of oil coupled wedge transducers. The amplitudes of the first and second harmonic are measured at varying propagation distances to obtain the nonlinearity parameter for a given damage state. The experimental results show an increase of acoustic nonlinearity in the early stages of fatigue life. Furthermore, a close relationship between plastic deformation and the acoustic nonlinearity is found, which indicates that the acoustic nonlinearity is indeed a measure of microplasticity in this material.