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Volume 119, Issue 1, January 2006
- NONLINEAR ACOUSTICS 
119(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2139647View Description Hide Description
Attached ultrasonic sensors can detect changes caused by crack initiation and growth if the wave path is directed through the area of critical crack formation. Dynamics of cracks opening and closing under load cause nonlinear modulation of received ultrasonic signals, enabling small cracks to be detected by stationary sensors. A methodology is presented based upon the behavior of ultrasonic signals versus applied load to detect and monitor formation and growth of cracks originating from fastener holes. Shear wave angle beam transducers operating in through transmission mode are mounted on either side of the hole such that the transmitted wave travels through the area of expected cracking. Time shift is linear with respect to load, and is well explained by path changes due to strain combined with wave speed changes due to acoustoelasticity. During subsequent in situ monitoring with unknown loads, the measuredtime of flight is used to estimate the load, and behavior of the received energy as a function of load is the basis for crack detection. Results are presented from low cycle fatigue tests of several aluminum specimens and illustrate the efficacy of the method in both determining the applied load and monitoring crack initiation and growth.