Ultrasonic guided wave testing on cross-ply composite laminate: An empirical study

Gerardo Aranguren*, Josu Etxaniz, Sergio Cantero-Chinchilla, Jose M. Gil-Garcia, Muhammad Khalid Malik

*Corresponding author for this work

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

6 Citations (Scopus)


Structural health monitoring comprises a set of techniques to detect defects appearing in structures. One of the most viable techniques is based on the guided ultrasonic wave test (UGWT), which consists of emitting waves throughout the structure, acquiring the emitted waves with various sensors, and processing the waves to detect changes in the structure. The UGWT of layered composite structures is challenging due to the anisotropic wave propagation characteristics of such structures and to the high signal attenuation that the waves experience. Hence, very low amplitude signals that are hard to distinguish from noise are typically recovered. This paper analyzes the propagation of guided waves along a cross-ply composite laminate following an empirical methodology. The research compares several implementations for UGWT with piezoelectric wafer active sensors. The reference for comparison is set on a basic mode, which considers the application of nominal voltage to a single sensor. The attenuation and spreading of the waves in several directions are compared when more energy is applied to the monitored structure. In addition, delayed multiple emission is also considered in multisensor tests. The goal of all the UGWT configurations is to transmit more energy to the structure such that the echoes of the emission are of greater amplitude and they ease the signal processing. The study is focused on the realization of viable monitoring systems for aeronautical composite made structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5291
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This paper is part of the SAFE-FLY project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 721455. In addition, this work has been supported by a continuous collaboration between Aernnova Engineering Division S.A. and the University of the Basque Country.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Composite material
  • Piezoelectric wafer active sensors
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Ultrasonic guided wave testing


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