Advanced Processing of Acoustic Emission Data From Composite Structures:

Overview and Case Studies


Progress in Acoustic Emission XI, The Japanese Society of NDT 2002, pp.274-281

(16th International AE Symposium, 12-15 November 2002, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan)

A. A. Anastasopoulos and S. J. Vahaviolos


The increased significance of composites in the industry, from aerospace to construction, and the advantages they offer has rendered them a common structural material in recent years. This has also increased the need for testing composite structures. Composite materials exhibit a number of failure mechanisms and due to the material composition it is, in many cases, difficult to non-destructively inspect them. AE has proven to be especially useful to composite testing as it is applied while the material is under stress and can follow developing damage or damage initiation in real-time, providing thus useful information about the condition and, possibly, the criticality of damage. The interpretation and evaluation of such data is the deciding factor for the success or not of the application of AE. In this paper recent methodologies and techniques for the analysis of AE data from composite structures are presented and the developments in this field are discussed. New AE tools in the form of Pattern Recognition (PR) software can improve the analysis efforts and provide the basis for automated data discrimination via Supervised Pattern Recognition (SPR) for composite structure integrity assessment. Examples of the successful application of PR on AE data from laboratory coupon tests, to composite beams of Insulated Aerial Man lift devices and FRP wind turbine (W/T) blades are discussed.