Structural integrity is an important characteristic of performance for critical components used in applications such as aeronautics, materials, construction and transportation. When appraising the structural integrity of these components, evaluation methods must be accurate. In addition to possessing capability to perform damage detection, the ability to monitor the level of damage over time can provide extremely useful information in assessing the operational worthiness of a structure and in determining whether the structure should be repaired or removed from service. In this work, a sequential Bayesian approach with active sensing is employed for monitoring crack growth within fatigue-loaded materials. The monitoring approach is based on predicting crack damage state dynamics and modeling crack length observations. Since fatigue loading of a structural component can change while in service, an interacting multiple model technique is employed to estimate probabilities of different loading modes and incorporate this information in the crack length estimation problem. For the observation model, features are obtained from regions of high signal energy in the time-frequency plane and modeled for each crack length damage condition. Although this observation model approach exhibits high classification accuracy, the resolution characteristics can change depending upon the extent of the damage. Therefore, several different transmission waveforms and receiver sensors are considered to create multiple modes for making observations of crack damage. Resolution characteristics of the different observation modes are assessed using a predicted mean squared error criterion and observations are obtained using the predicted, optimal observation modes based on these characteristics. Calculation of the predicted mean square error metric can be computationally intensive, especially if performed in real time, and an approximation method is proposed. With this approach, the real time computational burden is decreased significantly and the number of possible observation modes can be increased. Using sensor measurements from real experiments, the overall sequential Bayesian estimation approach, with the adaptive capability of varying the state dynamics and observation modes, is demonstrated for tracking crack damage.
- Adaptive methods within a sequential Bayesian approach for structural health monitoring