Reliable and quantitative non-destructive evaluation for small fatigue cracks, in particular those in hard-to-inspect locations, is a challenging problem. Guided waves are advantageous for structural health monitoring due to their slow geometrical decay of amplitude with propagating distance, which is ideal for rapid wide-area inspection. This paper presents a 3D laser vibrometry experimental and finite element analysis of the interaction between an edge-guided wave and a small through-thickness hidden edge crack on a racecourse shaped hole that occurs, in practice, as a fuel vent hole. A piezoelectric transducer is bonded on the straight edge of the hole to generate the incident wave. The excitation signal consists of a 5.5 cycle Hann-windowed tone burst of centre frequency 220 kHz, which is below the cut-off frequency for the first order Lamb wave modes (SH1). Two-dimensional fast Fourier transformation (2D FFT) is applied to the incident and scattered wave field along radial lines emanating from the crack mouth, so as to identify the wave modes and determine their angular variation and amplitude. It is shown experimentally and computationally that mid-plane symmetric edge waves can travel around the hole’s edge to detect a hidden crack. Furthermore, the scattered wave field due to a small crack length, a
, (compared to the wavelength λ
of the incident wave) is shown to be equivalent to a point source consisting of a particular combination of body-force doublets. It is found that the amplitude of the scattered field increases quadratically as a function of a/λ
, whereas the scattered wave pattern is independent of crack length for small cracks a << λ
. This study of the forward scattering problem from a known crack size provides a useful guide for the inverse problem of hidden crack detection and sizing.
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