Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Eric D. Swenson, PhD


Nondestructive structural health monitoring (SHM) is an evolving technology being developed for monitoring air and space systems. The information gathered on a system's structural integrity through SHM detection methods may result in reduced costly maintenance inspections, enhanced safety, and system failure predictions. This study evaluates Lamb wave approaches used to detect simulated cracks in laboratory experiments on thin plates to detect more realistic damage in a test article representing the complex geometry of an existing aircraft bulkhead. We take a "hot-spot" monitoring approach, where we monitor an area of the structure known to fail. In our experiment, we evaluated the use of piezoelectric generated tuned Lamb waves for crack detection. The use of Lamb waves, guided elastic waves in a plate, has shown promise in detecting highly localized damage due to the relatively short wavelengths of the propagating waves. We evaluated both pitch-catch and pulse-echo approaches for Lamb wave excitation and measurement. Crack detection is accomplished by comparing the responses from the damaged test article to the responses of the healthy test article.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number