Maximum-likelihood estimation of damage location in guided-wave structural health monitoring

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

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

146 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the formulation of a maximum-likelihood estimate of damage location for guided-wave structural health monitoring (GWSHM) using a minimally informed, Rayleigh-based statistical model of scattered wave measurements. Also introduced are two statistics-based methods for evaluating localization performance: the localization probability density function estimate and the localizer operating characteristic curve. Using an ensemble of measurements from an instrumented plate with stiffening stringers, the statistical performance of the so-called Rayleigh maximum-likelihood estimate (RMLE) is compared with that of seven previously reported localization methods. The RMLE proves superior in all test cases, and is particularly effective in localizing damage using very sparse arrays consisting of as few as three transducers. The probabilistic basis used for modelling the complicated wave scattering behaviour makes the algorithm especially suited for localizing damage in complicated structures, with the potential for improved performance with increasing structure complexity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2575-2596
Number of pages22
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2133
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2011


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