Validation of Acoustic Emission (AE) Crack Detection in Aerospace Grade Steel Using Digital Image Correlation
Acoustic Emission (AE) is a passive form of non-destructive testing that relies on the detection and analysis of stress waves released during crack propagation. AE techniques are successfully employed number of industries there remains some scepticism in aerospace engineering. The reported investigation details a single four point bend test specimen undergoing fatigue loading. This test is part of a much larger programme designed to demonstrate a technology readiness level (TRL) of five of the use of AE to detect crack initiation and growth in landing gear structures. The completed test required that crack growth had to be monitored to allow a comparison with the detected and located AE signals. The method of crack monitoring had to be non-contact so as not to produce frictional sources of AE in the crack region, preventing the use of crack mouth opening displacement gauges. Furthermore adhesives on the specimen surface had to be avoided to eliminate the possibility that the detected AE was from adhesive cracking, thus the use of strain gauges or foil crack gauges was not possible. A method using Digital Image Correlation (DIC) to monitor crack growth was investigated. The test was stopped during fatigue loading at 1000 cycle intervals and a DIC image captured at peak load. The displacement due to crack growth was observed throughout the investigation and the results compared with the detected AE signals. Results showed a clear correlation between AE and crack growth and added further evidence of TRL5 for detecting fractures in landing gears using AE.
R.A.W. Mines and J.M. Dulieu-Barton
R. Pullin et al., "Validation of Acoustic Emission (AE) Crack Detection in Aerospace Grade Steel Using Digital Image Correlation", Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vols. 24-25, pp. 221-226, 2010