Numerical and experimental investigation of laser-induced optoacoustic wave propagation for damage detection

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An integrated experimental and numerical investigation for laser-generated optoacoustic wave propagation in structural materials is performed. First, a multi-physics simulation model is proposed to simulate the pulsed laser as a

An integrated experimental and numerical investigation for laser-generated optoacoustic wave propagation in structural materials is performed. First, a multi-physics simulation model is proposed to simulate the pulsed laser as a point heat source which hits the surface of an aluminum sheet. The pulsed laser source can generate a localized heating on the surface of the plate and induce an in-plane stress wave. ANSYS – a finite element analysis software – is used to build the 3D model and a coupled thermal-mechanical simulation is performed in which the heat flux is determined by an empirical laser-heat conversion relationship. The displacement and stress field-histories are obtained to get the time of arrival and wave propagation speed of the stress wave. The effect of an added point mass is investigated in detail to observe the local material perturbation and remote wave signals. Following this, the experimental investigation of optoacoustic wave is also performed. A new experimental setup and control is developed and assembled in-house. Various laser firing parameters are investigated experimentally and the optimal combination is used for the experimental testing. Matrix design for different testing conditions is also proposed to include the effect of wave path, sampling procedure, and local point mass on the optoacoustic wave propagation. The developed numerical simulation results are validated with experimental observations. It is shown that the proposed experimental setup can offer a potential fast scanning method for damage detection (local property change) for plate-like structural component.