Structural health monitoring (SHM) systems help in reducing maintenance cost and avoiding catastrophic failure of the structure. As a result, they have been a focus of research for the past few decades. Ideally, the methods employed should be low cost and able to detect and localize small levels of damage reliably and accurately. This paper describes a guided waves (GW) based two-step technique for damage detection and localization using fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors. The FBG sensors offer benefits such as the ability to be embedded and multiplexed as well as being lightweight and insensitive to electric and magnetic fields, and they have long been seen as a promising solution for the GW measurements in structures. Unfortunately, in the conventional wavelength-based interrogation they have very low signal to noise ratio and as a result low sensitivity. Therefore, the FBG sensor is incorporated in the edge filtering configuration. The major challenges in the use of FBG sensors for GW-based detection are their directional sensitivity and passive nature. The passive nature leads to the reduction in the available actuator–sensor (AS) pairs while the directionality makes the signal processing a challenge. The proposed two-step methodology overcomes these shortcomings of FBG sensors. In the first step the amplitude weighted elliptical approach is used to identify the hotspots due to the inadequate number of AS pairs, the elliptical approach is not sufficient for damage localization. Therefore, in order to further localize the damage the edge reflection based ray-tracing approach is implemented in the second step. Through the two step method, the damage is accurately located. The paper provides the proof of concept of the proposed methodology on an aluminum plate with simulated damage. The results indicate, that indeed the two-step methodology allows accurate damage localization and overcomes the possibility of false detections.
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