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Finite Element and Plate Theory Methods for Modeling Acoustic Emission Waveforms



W H. Prosser, Marvin A. Hamstad, John M. Gary, Agnes O'Gallagher


A comparison was made between two approaches to predict acoustic emission waveforms in thin plates. A normal mode solution method for Mindlin plate theory was used to predict the flexural plate mode response to a point source, step-function load, applied on the plate surface. The second approach used a dynamic finite element method (DFEM) to model the problem using equations of motion based on exact linear elasticity. Calculations were made using properties for both isotropic (aluminum) and anisotropic (unidirectional graphite/epoxy composite) materials. For simulations of anisotropic plates, propagation along multiple directions was evaluated. In general, agreement between the two theoretical approaches was good. Discrepancies in the waveforms at longer times were caused by differences in reflections from the latral plate boundaries. These differences resulted from the fact that the two methods used different boundary conditions. At shorter times in the signals, before reflections, the slight discrepancies in the waveforms were attributer to limitations of Mindlin plate theory, which is an approximate plate theory. The advantages of the finite element method are that it used the exact linear elasticity solutions, and that it can be used to model real source conditions and complicated, finite specimen geometries as well as thick plates. These advantages come at a cost of increased computational difficulty, requiring legthy calculations on work-stations or supercomputers. The Mindlin plate theory solutions, meanwhile, can be quickly generated on personal computers. Specimens with finite geometry can also be modeled. However, only limited simple geometries such as circular or rectangular plates can easily be accomodated with the normal mode solution technique. Likewise, very limited source configuations can be modeled and plate theory is only applicable to thin plates.
Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation
No. 3


acoustic emission, finite element modeling, plate theory


Prosser, W. , Hamstad, M. , Gary, J. and O'Gallagher, A. (2002), Finite Element and Plate Theory Methods for Modeling Acoustic Emission Waveforms, Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation (Accessed May 18, 2024)


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Created October 1, 2002, Updated June 2, 2021