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21 April 2008 Detection of disbonds in a honeycomb composite structure using guided waves
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Advanced composites are being used increasingly in state-of-the-art aircraft and aerospace structures. In spite of their many advantages composite materials are highly susceptible to hidden flaws that may occur at any time during the life cycle of a structure and if undetected, may cause sudden and catastrophic failure of the entire structure. An example of such a defects critical structural component is the "honeycomb composite" in which thin composite skins are bonded with adhesives to the two faces of extremely lightweight and relatively thick metallic honeycombs. These components are often used in aircraft and aerospace structures due to their high strength to weight ratio. Unfortunately, the bond between the honeycomb and the skin may degrade with age and service loads leading to separation of the load-bearing skin from the honeycomb (called "disbonds") and compromising the safety of the structure. This paper is concerned with the noninvasive detection of disbonds using ultrasonic guided waves. Laboratory experiments are carried out on a composite honeycomb specimen containing localized disbonded regions. Ultrasonic waves are launched into the specimen using a broadband PZT transducer and are detected by a distributed array of identical transducers located on the surface of the specimen. The guided wave components of the signals are shown to be very strongly influenced by the presence of a disbond. The experimentally observed results are being used to develop an autonomous scheme to locate the disbonds and to estimate their size.
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Harsh Baid, Sauvik Banerjee, Shiv Joshi, and Siddhartha Mal "Detection of disbonds in a honeycomb composite structure using guided waves", Proc. SPIE 6935, Health Monitoring of Structural and Biological Systems 2008, 693504 (21 April 2008);

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