Comparison of Lamb waves and pulse echo in detection of near-surface defects in laminate plates

K. S. Tan, N. Guo, B. S. Wong, C. G. Tui

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One of the problems faced in ultrasonic nondestructive testing (NDT) of composite laminates is near-surface delaminations which may be due to impact damage. The normal incidence pulse echo technique has difficulty in resolving echoes from this type of defect since they often lie within the length of the transmitted ultrasonic pulse. Although a high frequency probe may be used, it has its limitations and could be problematic in composite materials in which ply reflections may interfere with defect reflections. The use of an acoustic delay, together with a high frequency probe, may improve the detection. In this paper, a different approach has been developed using the fundamental Lamb wave (S0 mode) to detect delaminations in unidirectional fibre composite materials. It has been found that the Lamb wave amplitude decreases significantly over a delamination region. The decrease in amplitude is strongly dependent upon the depth of the delamination and is most sensitive to the delaminations near to the surface of the laminate. By scanning the transducer over the surface, it is possible to measure the size and depth of this kind of delamination. This technique is comparable to the delayed pulse echo technique and can be used to complement other techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalNDT and E International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • composite laminates
  • delaminations
  • Lamb waves

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