Journal of Theoretical
and Applied Mechanics

49, 3, pp. 807-823, Warsaw 2011

Characteristics of elastic wave propagation in thick beams – when guided waves prevail?

Haikuo Peng, Lin Ye, Guang Meng, Kai Sun, Fucai Li
Characteristics of wave propagation in thick beams are analyzed using a three-dimensional (3-D) spectral element method (SEM) for the purpose of damage detection. Analysis of wave propagation in beams of different thickness under excitations with different central frequency reveals that when the thickness of the beam is comparable to the wavelength of the elastic wave, a local wave mode, besides quasi-symmetric and quasi-anti-symmetric modes, exist simultaneously in the beam. In particular, when the wavelength is more than two times the beam thickness, the local wave modes are suppressed and the wave modes in the beam can be regarded as traditional guided waves, i.e., Lamb waves. It is demonstrated that the central frequency of wave signals can be selected according to the dimensions of the beam to obtain simple wave modes like those in thin beams. The characteristics of wave propagation in an intact beam and beams with a lateral crack are analyzed and the results are also validated by experiments, where wave propagation signals in thick steel beams are activated and captured using PZT elements.
Keywords: wave propagation; spectral element method; thick beam; damage detection