Ultrasonic condition monitoring of composite structures using a low profile acoustic source and an embedded optical fibre sensor

Stephen Pierce, Wieslaw J. Staszewski, Anthony Gachagan, IR James, WR Philp, K. Worden, B Culshaw, A McNab, GR Tomlinson, Gordon Hayward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


The purpose of this paper is to provide a concise introduction to the developments and recent findings of a BRITE-EURAM program of work (BRE2.CT94-0990 <SISCO>, Structurally Integrated System for the comprehensive evaluation of COmposites). The aim of the program has been to develop an acoustic/ultrasonic based structural monitoring system for composite structures using material compatible sensors. Since plate-like structures have been investigated, it has been a requirement to utilise the propagation of ultrasonic Lamb waves through the sample materials. Preliminary investigations utilised conventional piezo-electric sources coupled to the sample via perspex wedges. The Lamb waves generated by these sources were monitored using either a fully embedded or surface mounted optical fibre sensors. The system was tested with a variety of different carbon and glass fibre reinforced panels, and the interaction of the Lamb waves with different defects in these materials was monitored. Conventional signal processing allowed the location of defects such as impact damage sites, delaminations and holes. Subsequent investigations have endeavoured to refine the system. This paper reports the development of advanced wavelet based signal processing techniques to enhance defect visibility, the optical connectorisation of composite panels, and the development of flexible low profile acoustic sources for efficient Lamb wave generation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmart Structures and Integrated Systems - Smart Structures and Materials 1997
EditorsME Regelbrugge
Place of PublicationBellingham
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)0819424544
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)


  • wavelet analysis
  • novelty detection
  • lamb waves
  • optical fibre sensors
  • composite material testing
  • smart structures
  • acoustic sources
  • ultrasonic condition monitoring
  • composite structures


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