Pitch-catch UGW-based multiple damage inference: A heterogeneous graph interpretation

Lu Zhou, Si Xin Chen, Yi Qing Ni, Liu Jiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Ultrasonic guided waves (UGWs) have been extensively utilized in nondestructive testing and structural health monitoring (SHM) for detection and real-time monitoring of structural defects. By implementing multiple piezoelectric sensors onto a plane of the target structure to form a sensor network, damages within the sensing range can be detected or even visualized through a pitch-catch configuration. On the other hand, deep learning (DL) techniques have recently been widely used to aid UGW-based SHM when the waveform is over complicated to extract a specific mode of interest due to irregular structure or boundary reflections. However, not too much research work has been conducted to thoroughly combine sensor networks with DL. Existing research using DL approaches is mainly used to train and interpret waveforms from isolated sensor pairs. The topological structure of sensor layout and sensor-damage relative positions are hardly considered in the data-driven process. Motivated by these concerns, this study offers a first-of-its-kind perspective to interpret UGW data collected from a sensor network by mapping the physical sensor-damage layout into a graph, in which sensors and potential damages serve as graph vertices bearing heterogenous properties upon coming to UGWs and the process of UGW transmission between sensors are encapsulated as wavelike message passing between the vertices. A novel physics-informed end-to-end graph neural network model, named as WaveNet, was exquisitely and meticulously developed. By utilizing wave information and topological structure, WaveNet enables inference of multiple damages in terms of severity and location with satisfactory accuracy, even when the waveforms are chaotic, and the sensor arrangement is different at the training and testing stages. More importantly, beyond the SHM scenario, the present study is expected to enlighten new thinking on interconnecting physical wave propagation with virtual messaging passing in neural networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015005
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • graph neural network
  • piezoelectric transducer
  • sensor network
  • structural health monitoring
  • ultrasonic guided waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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