The accuracy of damage localization, especially the accurate determination of the time arrival difference, is important in the field of acoustic emission (AE) source localization. In this paper, we propose a new approach to localize an AE source with the dispersive A0 mode. For this approach, we analyzed the cross correlation of AE signals with a reference database and determined the time lag of A0 mode. The technique is carried out in a two-stage computational process. First, AE signals are used to construct the reference database and compensate for the dispersion of waves based on the time reversal principle. Second, the time arrival difference of the A0 mode is determined by the cross correlation of AE signals with the reference signals using the first threshold-crossing technique. A localization algorithm is carried out based on the triangulation technique. The proposed approach is conducted on a steel plate with three AE sensors coupling on the surface. Pencil-lead breaks are adopted to simulate AE sources. Results indicated that eight verification points were successfully localized with the maximum and minimum relative errors of 0.98% and 0.58%, respectively. Thus, this paper shows an optional technique to localize AE sources with the A0 mode, which is of significant importance.
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