Detection of fatigue cracks in train structures using nonlinear lamb waves

Qiang Wang, Zhongqing Su, Li Cheng, Chao Zhou

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Envisioning the rapid development of high-speed railway network worldwide but envisaging potential threats to the safe operation of the network due to continuous ageing of train structures, a fatigue damage detection technique for train structures was developed. For metal structures used in high-seeped trains, fatigue crack may take place under cyclic loads, causing unexpected accident. However inspection of fatigue damage can be a difficult task during the normal operation of the train using tradition nondestructive evaluation techniques. In this study, nonlinear Lamb waves were used to interrogate train structures. Higher-order harmonic wave fields were generated, to observe that under certain conditions the second harmonic was cumulative. The fatigue damage modulated the nonlinearity of the structure due to the plastic deformation or micro-cracks, influencing the cumulative character of the second harmonic Lamb wave. To quantify the degree of such cumulative second harmonic, a nonlinearity parameter was used. A short-time Fourier transformation-based signal processing was applied to the collected signals to extract the amplitudes of the first and second harmonics. Experiments on an aluminum plate containing fatigue damage validated the proposed method. The results indicated that the fatigue crack can break the cumulative character of the nonlinearity parameter whereby the fatigue damage can be detected. It is noteworthy that this method can be carried out without any baseline data or a benchmark structure, increasing the flexibility of the application.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1st International Workshop on High-Speed and Intercity Railways
Number of pages11
EditionVOL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2012
Event1st International Workshop on High-Speed and Intercity Railways, IWHIR 2011 - Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 19 Jul 201122 Jul 2011

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Electrical Engineering
NumberVOL. 1
Volume147 LNEE
ISSN (Print)1876-1100
ISSN (Electronic)1876-1119


Conference1st International Workshop on High-Speed and Intercity Railways, IWHIR 2011
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityShenzhen, Hong Kong


  • Fatigue crack
  • nonlinear Lamb wave
  • second harmonic
  • train structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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