Application and improvement of conventional stress-wave-based non-destructive testing methods for the condition assessment of in-service timber utility poles

Southern Cross University
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 23rd Australasian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials, 2014, pp. 1197 - 1202
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Timber utility poles represent a significant part of Australia’s infrastructure for power distribution and communication networks. Due to their advanced age, significant efforts are undertaken to prevent utility lines from failure. However, the lack of reliable tools for assessing the condition of in-service poles seriously jeopardizes the maintenance and asset management. Non-destructive testing (NDT) methods based on stress wave propagation can potentially offer simple and cost-effective tools for the condition assessment of in-service timber poles. Based on the impact direction and location, mainly two wave types can be excited in a pole, i.e. longitudinal and bending waves. A conventional stresswave- based method that analyses longitudinal waves is the Sonic Echo (SE) method; and a typical signal processing method for the analysis of bending waves (BW) is the Short Kernel Method (SKM). In this paper, firstly, the application of the conventional SE method and the BW method with SKM data analysis is investigated for the condition assessment of timber poles from a signal processing perspective. Secondly, to improve limitations of the current methods, the application of a multisensors array is proposed for more reliable and accurate results. The new method is validated on numerical data of a timber pole modelled with both isotropic and orthotropic material properties.
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