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Publication - Professor Robert Smith

    Ultrasonic Analytic-Signal Responses from Polymer-Matrix Composite Laminates


    Smith, R, Nelson, L, Mienczakowski, M & Wilcox, P, 2018, ‘Ultrasonic Analytic-Signal Responses from Polymer-Matrix Composite Laminates’. IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, vol 65., pp. 231-243


    Ultrasound has been used to inspect composite laminates since their invention but only recently has the response from the internal plies themselves been considered of interest. This paper uses modeling techniques to make sense of the fluctuating and interfering reflections from the resin layers between plies, providing clues to the underlying inhomogeneities in the structure. It shows how the analytic signal, analyzed in terms of instantaneous amplitude, phase, and frequency, allows 3-D characterization of the microstructure. It is found that, under certain conditions, the phase becomes locked to the interfaces between plies and that the first and last plies have characteristically different instantaneous frequencies. This allows the thin resin layers between plies to be tracked through various features and anomalies found in real composite components (ply drops, tape gaps, tape overlaps, and out-of-plane wrinkles), giving crucial information about conformance to design of as-manufactured components. Other types of defects such as delaminations are also considered. Supporting evidence is provided from experimental ultrasonic data acquired from real composite specimens and compared with X-ray computed tomography images and microsections.

    Full details in the University publications repository