Flaw detection using a selective Lamb mode excitation with phased array transducers
Paper in proceedings, 2010
Lamb waves travel in plates and hollow cylinders over large distances and propagate with multiple mode shapes. Therefore the waves can be used for integrity tests of large scale structures. Each propagating wave mode has a unique dispersive character and a frequency dependent vibration pattern. Therefore, by interacting with flaws each mode is assumed to generate an individual reflection pattern depending on the flaw type, flaw orientation and size. To extract this information a frequency as well as wave number dependent mode excitation is required ensuring a single mode excitation. The challenge, however, is to control the selective mode excitation electronically to allow a sequence of consecutive tests with different wave modes to collect the data. A method is proposed using phased array wedge transducers with fluid coupling for normal force excitation of Lamb wave modes. The excitation principle is investigated analytically on plates by modelling the wave generation in the wedge and the coupling between wedge and structure. The analytical results of the excitation principle are validated by corresponding experiments where the field patterns on the wedge surface and on the plate were scanned using a laser vibrometer. The directivity of the radiated field is investigated together with the direction dependent analysis of the mode content.