Structural Damage Detection in Beams by Wavelet Transforms


The use of a laser-based optical system and wavelet transforms is explored for the detection of changes in the properties of cantilevered aluminum beams as a result of damage. The beams were modeled using the ANSYS 5.3 finite-element method and the first six mode shapes for the damaged and the undamaged cases obtained. Damage was simulated by a reduction in the stiffness of one element. Gaussian white noise was added externally to simulate field conditions. The results show that a spatially-localized abnormality in the mode shape could be represented uniquely by a small set of wavelet coefficients while the white noise was uniformly spread throughout the wavelet space. It was observed that the damage clearly manifested in the sixth-order detail of certain modes only. A different finite-element model was used as a test beam to validate the proposed method. An actual aluminum beam, fabricated with dimensions similar to the test beam, was excited and the mode shapes recorded with the scanning laser vibrometer. Damage was created by machining a notch in the beam of the same dimensions as the finite-element test beam. An image of the damage location was obtained from the continuous wavelet transform coefficients. The magnitude of the wavelet coefficients at the damage location showed a close correlation to the severity of damage. It was observed to increase with increasing damage. The finite-element test beam results showed a close correlation to the corresponding experimental beam results. The method benefits from the fact that the undamaged mode shapes were not used to evaluate the condition of the beam, which in most field conditions is not feasible.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Article - Journal

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© 2000 Institute of Physics - IOP Publishing, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2000