A Comprehensive Multi-Modal NDE Data Fusion Approach for Failure Assessment in Aircraft Lap-Joint Mimics


Ferrero, Alessandro


Multi-modal data fusion techniques are commonly used to enhance decision-making processes. In previous research, a comprehensive structural analysis process was developed for quantizing and evaluating characteristics of defects in aircraft lap-joint mimics using eddy current (EC) nondestructive evaluation (NDE) data collected for structural health monitoring. In this research, a comprehensive multi-modal structural analysis process is presented that includes intra- and inter-modal NDE data fusion based on EC, millimeter wave (MW), and ultrasonic (UT) data obtained from five lap-joint mimic test panels. The process includes defect detection, defect characterization, and finite-element modeling-based simulated fatigue loading for structural analysis. The multi-modal structural analysis process is evaluated using four test panels with corroded patches at different layers of the lap joints and one painted pristine panel used as a reference. The test panels are subjected to two rounds of mechanical loading, preceded by multi-modal NDE data obtained before each round. Different NDE modality combinations are examined for test panel modeling, including: 1) EC, 2) UT, 3) MW, 4) EC and UT, 5) EC and MW, and 6) EC, UT, and MW. Experiments are performed to compare the simulated fatigue loading, based on models determined from the different modality combinations, and the mechanical loading results to find susceptible-to-failure areas in the test panels. Experimental results showed that the EC and UT modality combination yielded a correct vulnerable (crack) location recognition rate of 98.8%, an improvement of 14.7% over any individual modality, demonstrating the potential for multi-modal data fusion for characterizing corrosion and defects.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Second Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Eddy Current (EC); Fatigue; Image Analysis; Microwave; Millimeter Wave (MW); Multi-Modal Data Fusion; Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE); Structural Analysis; Structural Health Monitoring; Ultrasound

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2013 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2013