Health monitoring of bolted joints using modal-based vibrothermography

Xintian Chi*, Dario Di Maio, Nicholas A J Lieven

*Corresponding author for this work

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

4 Citations (Scopus)
117 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents a novel modal-based vibrothermographic approach for health monitoring of loosening bolted joints in coupled structures. In this article, the theoretical background supporting this proposed approach is firstly presented. Through finite element analyses on a simple bolted structure with varying joint conditions achieved by adjustment of bolt loads, the relationship between the bolt load and the temperature increase in the vibrating bolted joint during vibrothermographic tests was revealed. Experimental vibrothermographic tests on a more complex structure were completed to verify the observations from the finite element analyses while demonstrating the viability of the vibrothermographic approach in a laboratory environment. It has been shown that this vibrothermographic approach was able to determine the stage of a bolted joint in its progression of failure by tracing the changes in the temperature increase in relevant regions during vibrothermographic tests. Moreover, additional tests have been performed to illustrate that this approach was effective even by using only the residual responses of the structure’s vibration that were away from the resonances, which indicates it is more applicable to structures with higher damping as such structures have stronger residual responses during vibration that can be utilized. In the concluding observations of the article, the procedure for practical application of this approach is summarized, and its potential for further development is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1446 (2020)
Number of pages22
JournalSN Applied Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2020


  • Structural health monitoring
  • Infrared thermography
  • Vibrothermography
  • Bolted joint
  • Modal analysis
  • Finite element analysis


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