Structural health monitoring comprises a set of techniques to detect defects appearing in structures. One of the most viable techniques is based on the guided ultrasonic wave test (UGWT), which consists of emitting waves throughout the structure, acquiring the emitted waves with various sensors, and processing the waves to detect changes in the structure. The UGWT of layered composite structures is challenging due to the anisotropic wave propagation characteristics of such structures and to the high signal attenuation that the waves experience. Hence, very low amplitude signals that are hard to distinguish from noise are typically recovered. This paper analyzes the propagation of guided waves along a cross-ply composite laminate following an empirical methodology. The research compares several implementations for UGWT with piezoelectric wafer active sensors. The reference for comparison is set on a basic mode, which considers the application of nominal voltage to a single sensor. The attenuation and spreading of the waves in several directions are compared when more energy is applied to the monitored structure. In addition, delayed multiple emission is also considered in multisensor tests. The goal of all the UGWT configurations is to transmit more energy to the structure such that the echoes of the emission are of greater amplitude and they ease the signal processing. The study is focused on the realization of viable monitoring systems for aeronautical composite made structures.
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