Noncontact detection of fatigue cracks by laser nonlinear wave modulation spectroscopy (LNWMS)

Peipei Liu, Hoon Sohn, Tribikram Kundu, Suyoung Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Nonlinear wave modulation spectroscopy (NWMS) has been used to detect nonlinear ultrasonic signatures produced by fatigue cracks in materials. It is done by generating ultrasonic waves at two different frequencies and measuring their modulation. A proper choice of two distinct frequencies for a given structure plays a significant role in NWMS. This paper, instead of using input signals at two distinct frequencies, takes only one broadband pulse signal as the driving input, which can be generated by a laser beam. With a broadband excitation, material nonlinearity exhibits modulation at multiple peaks in a spectral plot due to interactions among various input frequency components of the broadband input. A feature called sideband peak count (SPC), which is defined as the ratio of the number of sideband (modulation) peaks over a moving threshold to the total peak number in the specified frequency band, is extracted from the spectral plot to measure the degree of material nonlinearity. The basic premise of the proposed laser nonlinear wave modulation spectroscopy (LNWMS) is that this SPC value will rise as the level of material nonlinearity increases. A noncontact laser ultrasonic system has been built for LNWMS measurement by integrating and synchronizing a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser for ultrasonic wave generation and a laser Doppler vibrometer for ultrasonic wave detection. The proposed LNWMS technique has been successfully tested for detecting fatigue cracks in metallic plates and aircraft fitting-lugs having complex geometries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-116
Number of pages11
JournalNDT and E International
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Fatigue crack
  • Noncontact laser ultrasonics
  • Nonlinear wave modulation spectroscopy (NWMS)
  • Structural health monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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