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.



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