Structural health monitoring (SHM) of aircraft composite structure is helpful to increase reliability and reduce maintenance costs. Due to the great effectiveness in distinguishing particular guided wave modes and identifying the propagation direction, the spatial-wavenumber filter technique has emerged as an interesting SHM topic. In this paper, a new scanning spatial-wavenumber filter (SSWF) based imaging method for multiple damages is proposed to conduct on-line monitoring of aircraft composite structures. Firstly, an on-line multi-damage SSWF is established, including the fundamental principle of SSWF for multiple damages based on a linear piezoelectric (PZT) sensor array, and a corresponding wavenumber-time imaging mechanism by using the multi-damage scattering signal. Secondly, through combining the on-line multi-damage SSWF and a PZT 2D cross-shaped array, an image-mapping method is proposed to conduct wavenumber synthesis and convert the two wavenumber-time images obtained by the PZT 2D cross-shaped array to an angle-distance image, from which the multiple damages can be directly recognized and located. In the experimental validation, both simulated multi-damage and real multi-damage introduced by repeated impacts are performed on a composite plate structure. The maximum localization error is less than 2 cm, which shows good performance of the multi-damage imaging method. Compared with the existing spatial-wavenumber filter based damage evaluation methods, the proposed method requires no more than the multi-damage scattering signal and can be performed without depending on any wavenumber modeling or measuring. Besides, this method locates multiple damages by imaging instead of the geometric method, which helps to improve the signal-to-noise ratio. Thus, it can be easily applied to on-line multi-damage monitoring of aircraft composite structures.
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