Article Article
Wave Propagation in Damaged Composite Materials

In 1989 one of the authors used the term “microstructural acoustics” to describe the study of the details of wave propagation in composite laminates with damage from both mechanical loading and projectile impact. That study used the Acousto-ultrasonic method and limited consideration to effects on the energy transmission caused by the damage including anisotropic influences. More recently the DSML has studied the details of plate modes which are caused by either actual or simulated acoustic emission (AE) events. This work takes on added importance in light of the USAF funding of research to “…nondestructively quantify the degraded elastic modulus and Poisson’s ratio in an impacted Polymer Matrix Composite (PMC) with a spatial accuracy of 0.01 in. and estimated properties NTE ±5% of those found via traditional mechanical testing.” Observations of ultrasound interaction with various types of damage in laminate composite materials will be described. In particular, work done to characterize the wave speeds as well as scattering and attenuation of various plate modes will be discussed. An automated procedure for extracting the arrival times of symmetric and antisymmetric modes has been developed and used for situations where the wave modes overlap at the point of detection. The nature of the observations is counter-intuitive and is driving further research.




  • Duke, Jr., J.C., E.G. Henneke, II, M.T. Kiernan, and P.P. Grosskopf, “A Study of the Stress Wave Factor Technique for Evaluation of Composite Materials, NASA Contractor Report 4195, Jan. 1989.
  • Kiernan, Michael T. and John C. Duke, Jr., A Physical Model for the Acousto-Ultrasonic Method, NASA Contractor Report 185294, Oct. 1990.
  • Gupta, Arnab and John Duke, Jr., Characterizing Damage Development in Crossply Laminates Using Simulated Acoustic Emission, Materials Evaluation, April 2012, Vol. 70, No. 4, pp. 461-469.
  • Gupta, Arnab and John Duke, Jr., Identifying the Arrival of Extensional and Flexural Wave Modes Using Wavelet Decomposition of Ultrasonic Signals, Ultrasonics, Jan 2018, Vol. 82, pp. 261-271, doi: 10.1016/j.ultras.2017.09.008.
  • Gupta, Arnab and John Duke, Jr., Early Detection of Critical Damage in Composite Materials Using Simulated Acoustic Emission, manuscript to be submitted for publication.
  • Lane, Ryan, Theoretical and Experimental Assessment of Plate Wave Propagation in Damaged Multi-layered Composite Materials, Thesis Research, Virginia Tech (in progress).
  • USAF SBIR Topic: Nondestructive Quantification of the Degraded Elastic Modulus and Poisson's Ratio of Impact Damaged Polymer Matrix Composites, AF-171-111, 2017.
  • Rice, S.O., Mathematical Analysis of Random Noise, Bell System Technical Journal, Vol.23, 1944 pp.282- 332 and Vol. 24, 1945, pp 46-156: reprinted in Selected Papers on Noise and Stochastic Processes, ed. N. Wax, Dover, New York, 1954.
  • Worlton, D.C., Lamb Waves at Ultrasonic Frequencies, Hanford Atomic Products Operation, Report HW- 60662, Richland, Washington, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, June 9, 1959.
  • Nayfeh, A.H, The general problem of elastic wave propagation in multilayered anisotropic media, JASA, 89, 1521, 1991.
Usage Shares
Total Views
101 Page Views
Total Shares
0 Tweets
0 PDF Downloads
0 Facebook Shares
Total Usage