Ultrasonic guided waves have been widely used to monitor straight tubes because of their applicability to full-volume inspection at long distances. However, the use of ultrasonic guided waves is limited when inspecting tubes with bends. Bends in tubes distort the propagation of guided waves and cause a reflection. Reflection signals from the bends and any discontinuities in the bend overlap each other, thereby hindering the inspection of bends. A technique for inspecting for discontinuities in bends is obviously needed. In this study, the sensitivity of guided waves to discontinuities at different bend locations is investigated through a numerical simulation technique. A technique for comparing frequency responses is proposed to inspect for discontinuities in bends. The frequency responses of the reflection signals of full bends and bends with discontinuities are obtained from the modal assurance criteria for different guided wave modes and inspection signals of different center frequencies. If two frequency responses are similar, then no discontinuities exist in the bend region. The technique is validated by numerical simulations and experimental results.
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