Monitoring damage in composite plates from crack initiation to macro-crack propagation combining linear and nonlinear ultrasonic techniques

Hamad Alnuaimi, Umar Amjad, Pietro Russo, Valentina Lopresto, Tribikram Kundu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


In this article, a holistic technique for sensing damage initiation, as well as damage progression in composite plates, is presented combining linear and nonlinear ultrasonic techniques. For this investigation, multiple sets of composite plate specimens made of two different composite materials were fabricated to check if the proposed technique works for different types of specimens. The specimens were damaged by impact loading and then inspected by propagating Lamb waves through them. Different failure mechanisms, such as fiber breaks, matrix cracking, debonding, and delamination, cause composite damage. Two groups of composite specimens that were fabricated and damaged were glass fiber–reinforced polymer composite and basalt fiber–reinforced polymer composite. A chirp signal excited by PZT (lead zirconate titanate) transducer was propagated through undamaged and damaged specimens to investigate the effects of varying degrees of damage on the recorded signals. Both linear and nonlinear ultrasonic parameters were extracted from the recorded signals and analyzed. The change in the linear ultrasonic parameters such as the wave speed and attenuation with damage progression were recorded. A new nonlinear ultrasonic parameter, the sideband peak count or sideband peak count-index, is also introduced and calculated from the recorded signals. It is observed that the nonlinear ultrasonic parameter can monitor the early stage of damage progression better than the linear ultrasonic parameters, while some linear ultrasonic parameters are more effective than the nonlinear ultrasonic parameter for monitoring the advanced stage of damage. Therefore, a combination of linear ultrasonic and nonlinear ultrasonic analyses is ideal for the holistic monitoring of the composite panels from the crack nucleation stage to the structural failure stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-150
Number of pages12
JournalStructural Health Monitoring
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Composite
  • damage monitoring
  • elastic wave
  • nonlinear ultrasonic
  • structural health monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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