Microwave Detection of Stress-induced Fatigue Cracks in Steel and Potential for Crack Opening Determination


Fatigue crack detection in metals is an important practical issue in many industries. In this paper the results of detecting fatigue cracks, using the dominant mode approach, employing flange-mounted, open-ended, rectangular waveguides at several microwave frequencies are presented. The goal of this investigation has been to demonstrate the capability of this approach for detecting stress-induced cracks under various static loads. In addition, a correlation between the features of the measured crack characteristic signals and crack opening has been sought. The results show that at all of the investigated frequencies, cracks from being nearly closed to having openings of up to 0.0508 mm are detected effectively. Furthermore, it is found that the interaction of the flange edge with a crack results in features that can be used to enhance crack detection robustness significantly (i.e., increased probability of detection). Several features associated with these measured crack characteristic signals are shown to correlate linearly with crack opening. Such simple correlations may then be used to estimate a crack opening closely after it has been detected using this approach. A complete discussion of the results is also provided in this paper.


Electrical and Computer Engineering


United States. Federal Highway Administration

Keywords and Phrases

Crack Propagation; Fatigue of Materials; Microwave Fatigue Crack Detection; Microwave Measurement; Steel; Stress Analysis; Stress Induced Fatigue Cracks; Surface Crack Detection and Evaluation

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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