Adhesive nonlinearity in Lamb-wave-based structural health monitoring systems

Shengbo Shan, Li Cheng, Peng Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


� 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd. Structural health monitoring (SHM) techniques with nonlinear Lamb waves have gained wide popularity due to their high sensitivity to microstructural changes for the detection of damage precursors. Despite the significant progress made, various unavoidable nonlinear sources in a practical SHM system, as well as their impact on the detection, have not been fully assessed and understood. For the real-time and online monitoring, transducers are usually permanently bonded on the structure under inspection. In this case, the inherent material nonlinear properties of the bonding layer, referred to as adhesive nonlinearity (AN), may create undesired interference to the SHM system, or even jeopardize the damage diagnosis if they become serious. In this paper, a nonlinear theoretical framework is developed, covering the process of wave generation, propagation and sensing, with the aim of investigating the mechanism and characteristics of AN-induced Lamb waves in plates, which potentially allows for further system optimization to minimize the influence of AN. The model shows that an equivalent nonlinear normal stress is generated in the bonding layer due to its nonlinear material behavior, which, through its coupling with the system, is responsible for the generation of second harmonic Lamb waves in the plate, subsequently resulting in the nonlinear responses in the captured signals. With the aid of the finite element (FE) modeling and a superposition method for nonlinear feature extraction, the theoretical model is validated in terms of generation mechanism of the AN-induced wave components as well as their propagating characteristics. Meanwhile, the influence of the AN is evaluated by comparing the AN-induced nonlinear responses with those caused by the material nonlinearity of the plate, showing that AN should be considered as a non-negligible nonlinear source in a typical nonlinear Lamb-wave-based SHM system. In addition, the theoretical model is also experimentally validated in terms of the frequency tuning characteristics of the AN-induced wave components. A fairly good agreement is found among the theoretical model, FE model and the experiments, thus confirming the theoretically predicted AN-induced wave generation mechanism and their characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number025019
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • adhesive nonlinearity
  • nonlinear guided waves
  • structural health monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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