In the field of acoustic emission testing (AE), the response of the sensor to the release of energy due to metals deforming in alloys, used in pressure vessel manufacturing with controlled stress when they reach 60% of the yield stress, is well documented (Dunegan 1971; Pollock 1973; Spanner 1973; CARP 1987; Heiple and Carpenter 1987; Fowler 1992; ASTM 1999). However, the acoustic emission activity from other sources is not recognized by some practitioners in this field. The author, having conducted thousands of AE tests on different materials, has encountered several factors that influence the amplitude, energy, duration, and rise time of the waveform recorded by the AE sensor. This article explains some of the phenomena and how to better understand their effect on the acoustic emission signature. Both metals and composite materials are discussed. This article has been divided into two parts. The first part includes a basic description of the method and other important factors to be noted. The second part (to be published in July 2021) will discuss the influence of the various materials used in construction and their effects on the AE data.
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