Multi-wire ropes are widely used as load-carrying constructional elements in bridges, cranes, elevators, etc
. Structural integrity of such ropes can be inspected by using non-destructive ultrasonic techniques. The objective of this work was to investigate propagation of ultrasonic guided waves (UGW) along composite multi-wire ropes in the cases of various types of acoustic contacts between neighboring wires and the plastic core. The modes of UGW propagating along the multi-wire ropes were identified using modelling, the dispersion curves were calculated using analytical and semi-analytical finite element (SAFE) techniques. In order to investigate the effects of UGW propagation, the two types of the acoustic contact between neighboring wires were simulated using the 3D finite element method (FE) as well. The key question of investigation was estimation of the actual boundary conditions between neighboring wires (solid or slip) and the real depth of penetration of UGW into the overall cross-section of the rope. Therefore, in order to verify the results of FE modelling, the guided wave penetration into strands of multi-wire rope was investigated experimentally. The performed modelling and experimental investigation enabled us to select optimal parameters of UGW to be used for non-destructive testing.
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