Probabilistic fatigue damage localization at unknown temperatures using guided wave methods

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This research examines the current challenges of using Lamb wave interrogation methods to localize fatigue crack damage in a complex metallic structural component subjected to unknown temperatures. The goal of this work is to improve damage localization results for a

This research examines the current challenges of using Lamb wave interrogation methods to localize fatigue crack damage in a complex metallic structural component subjected to unknown temperatures. The goal of this work is to improve damage localization results for a structural component interrogated at an unknown temperature, by developing a probabilistic and reference-free framework for estimating Lamb wave velocities and the damage location. The methodology for damage localization at unknown temperatures includes the following key elements: i) a model that can describe the change in Lamb wave velocities with temperature; ii) the extension of an advanced time-frequency based signal processing technique for enhanced time-of-flight feature extraction from a dispersive signal; iii) the development of a Bayesian damage localization framework incorporating data association and sensor fusion. The technique requires no additional transducers to be installed on a structure, and allows for the estimation of both the temperature and the wave velocity in the component. Additionally, the framework of the algorithm allows it to function completely in an unsupervised manner by probabilistically accounting for all measurement origin uncertainty. The novel algorithm was experimentally validated using an aluminum lug joint with a growing fatigue crack. The lug joint was interrogated using piezoelectric transducers at multiple fatigue crack lengths, and at temperatures between 20°C and 80°C. The results showed that the algorithm could accurately predict the temperature and wave speed of the lug joint. The localization results for the fatigue damage were found to correlate well with the true locations at long crack lengths, but loss of accuracy was observed in localizing small cracks due to time-of-flight measurement errors. To validate the algorithm across a wider range of temperatures the electromechanically coupled LISA/SIM model was used to simulate the effects of temperatures. The numerical results showed that this approach would be capable of experimentally estimating the temperature and velocity in the lug joint for temperatures from -60°C to 150°C. The velocity estimation algorithm was found to significantly increase the accuracy of localization at temperatures above 120°C when error due to incorrect velocity selection begins to outweigh the error due to time-of-flight measurements.