An inverse problem for Voronoi diagrams: A simplified model of nondestructive testing with ultrasonic arrays

David Bourne, Anthony Mulholland, Smita Sahu, Katherine Margaret Mary Tant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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In this paper we study the inverse problem of recovering the spatially varying material properties of a solid polycrystalline object from ultrasonic travel time measurements taken between pairs of points lying on the domain boundary. We consider a medium of constant density in which the orientation of the material's lattice structure varies in a piecewise constant manner, generating locally anisotropic regions in which the wave speed varies according to the incident wave direction and the material's known slowness curve. This particular problem is inspired by current challenges faced by the ultrasonic non-destructive testing of polycrystalline solids. We model the geometry of the material using Voronoi tessellations and study two simplified inverse problems where we ignore wave refraction. In the first problem, the Voronoi geometry itself and the orientations
associated to each region are unknowns. We solve this non-smooth, non-convex optimization problem using a multi-start nonlinear least squares method. Good reconstructions are achieved but the method is shown to be sensitive to the addition of noise. The second problem considers the reconstruction of the orientations on a fixed, square mesh. This is a smooth optimization problem but with a much larger number of degrees of freedom. We prove that the orientations can be determined uniquely given enough boundary measurements and provide a numerical method that is more stable with respect to the addition
of noise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3727-3745
Number of pages19
JournalMathematical Methods in the Applied Sciences
Issue number5
Early online date11 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2021


  • Applied Mathematics
  • geophysics
  • inverse problems
  • non‐destructive testing
  • optimisation
  • ultrasonics


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