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Monitoring Transverse Matrix Cracking in Composite Laminates Using Ultrasonic Guided Waves



In composite materials matrix cracking initiates first and promotes the development of more dangerous damage such as delamination and fiber breakage. The objective of this investigation is to determine the quantity of matrix cracks in a composite laminate rapidly and in-service using built-in piezoelectric actuators and sensors. A diagnostic method was proposed which compared the sensed signal before and after the presence of matrix cracks and related these signal changes to crack density. A crack density quantification model was developed that uses signal changes and theoretical laminate stiffness parameters. The model was tested on two layup configurations and its crack density estimates matched experimental crack density values within established error bounds.

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