Diffuse Ultrasonic Wave-Based Damage Detection of Railway Tracks Using PZT/FBG Hybrid Sensing System

Xiangtao Sun, Chuanrui Guo, Lei Yuan, Qingzhao Kong, Yiqing Ni

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Damage detection of railway tracks is vital to ensure normal operation and safety of the rail transit system. Piezoelectric sensors, which are widely utilized to receive ultrasonic wave, may be disturbed in the railway system due to strong electromagnetic interference (EMI). In this work, a hybrid ultrasonic sensing system is proposed and validated by utilizing a lead-zirconate-titanate (PZT) actuator and a fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensor to evaluate damage conditions of the railway tracks. The conventional ultrasonic guided wave-based method utilizing direct wave to detect damages is limited by the complex data analysis procedure and low sensitivity to incipient damage. Diffuse ultrasonic wave (DUW), referring to later arrival wave packets, is chosen in this study to evaluate structural conditions of railway tracks due to its high sensitivity, wider sensing range, and easy implementation. Damages with different sizes and locations are introduced on the railway track to validate the sensitivity and sensing range of the proposed method. Two damage indices are defined from the perspective of energy attenuation and waveform distortion. The experimental results demonstrate that the DUW signals received by the hybrid sensing system could be used for damage detection of the railway tracks and the waveform-distortion-based index is more efficient than the energy-based index.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2504
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • Damage detection
  • Diffuse ultrasonic waves
  • Fiber Bragg grating
  • High-speed railway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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