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J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Feb;133(2):677-87. doi: 10.1121/1.4773867.

In situ estimation of applied biaxial loads with Lamb waves.

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  • 1School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0250, USA.


Spatially distributed arrays of piezoelectric disks are being applied to monitor structural integrity using Lamb waves. Applied loads directly affect waves propagating between array elements because of dimensional changes and the acoustoelastic effect. Resulting changes in phase velocity depend upon the propagation direction as well as the Lamb wave mode and frequency. This paper shows from numerical solutions of the acoustoelastic wave equation for an isotropic plate that it is possible to decouple the effects of a homogeneous biaxial stress into its two principal components. As a consequence of both this decoupling and material isotropy, the acoustoelastic response of a specific mode and frequency is described by only two constants, which can be determined from a uniaxial loading experiment. Using this formulation, a method is developed and verified via simulations to estimate an arbitrary biaxial load from phase velocity changes measured along multiple directions of propagation. Results from uniaxial loading experiments on two different plates further demonstrate the efficacy of the method. It is also shown that opening fatigue cracks may significantly degrade results by interfering with Lamb wave direct arrivals, but that this degradation can be mitigated by using a reduced set of data from unaffected paths of propagation.

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