Symbolic dynamics time series analysis for assessment of barely visible indentation damage in composite sandwich structures based on guided waves

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Journal Article
Journal of Composite Materials, 2017, 51 (29), pp. 4129 - 4143
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© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. This study addresses the detection and localization of barely visible indentation damage in composite sandwich structures using ultrasonic guided waves. A quasi-static loading was gradually applied on a specimen of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy with honeycomb core, with the resulting dent size varying between 0.2 and 2.7 mm. The fundamental symmetric (S0) Lamb wave mode was excited to interrogate the structure. An anomaly measure was established based on symbolic time series analysis; it was defined as the ratio between the norms of probability vectors obtained from the symbol sequence vectors before and after damage has occurred. The symbolic time series analysis method transforms time series data into symbol sequences according to a pre-constructed symbol space using a set number of partitions. The number of partitions selected was determined based on the maximum Shannon’s entropy approach. An imaging algorithm was adopted in order to localize the damage. The effects of the excitation frequency and the number of partitions on the precision of prediction were investigated. The adopted approach showed high sensitivity to a very small change of 0.2 mm on the surface panel after a quasi-static loading of 2-mm indentation. Furthermore, the ability of the method to detect progressive damage was demonstrated. The results obtained demonstrate that symbolic time series analysis has excellent potential for use in detecting small defects such as barely visible indentation damage.
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