Maximum a posteriori probability estimation for localizing damage using ultrasonic guided waves

Eric B. Flynn, Michael D. Todd, Paul D. Wilcox, Bruce W. Drinkwater, Anthony J. Croxford

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Presented is an approach to damage localization for guided wave structural health monitoring (GWSHM) in plate-like structures. In this mode of SHM, transducers excite and sense guided waves in order to detect and characterize the presence of damage. The premise of the presented localization approach is simple: use as the estimated damage location the point on the structure with the maximum a posteriori probability (MAP) of being the location of damage (i.e., the most probable location given a set of sensor measurements). This is accomplished by constructing a minimally-informed statistical model of the GWSHM process. Parameters of the model which are unknown, such as scattered wave amplitude, are assigned non-informative Bayesian prior distributions and averaged out of the a posteriori probability calculation. Using an ensemble of measurements from an instrumented plate with stiffening stringers, the performance of the MAP estimate is compared to that of what were found to be the two most effective previously reported algorithms. The MAP estimate proved superior in nearly all test cases and was particularly effective in localizing damage using very sparse arrays of as few as three transducers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2011
EventHealth Monitoring of Structural and Biological Systems 2011 - San Diego, CA, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Mar 201110 Mar 2011


ConferenceHealth Monitoring of Structural and Biological Systems 2011
CountryUnited Kingdom
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Bayesian Statistics
  • Map Estimation
  • Structural Health Monitoring
  • Ultrasonic Guided Waves


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