Under cyclic and repetitive loads, fatigue cracks can be further propagated to a crucial level by accumulation, causing detrimental effects to structural integrity and potentially resulting in catastrophic consequences. Therefore, there is a demand to develop a reliable technique to monitor fatigue cracks quantitatively at an early stage. The objective of this paper is to characterize the propagation of fatigue cracks using the damage index (DI) calculated by various acoustic features of ultrasonic guided waves. A hybrid DI scheme for monitoring fatigue crack propagation is proposed using the linear fusion of damage indices (DIs
) and differential fusion of DIs. An experiment is conducted on an SMA490BW steel plate-like structure to verify the proposed hybrid DIs scheme. The experimental results show that the hybrid DIs from various acoustic features can be used to quantitatively characterize the propagation of fatigue cracks, respectively. It is found that the fused DIs calculated by the acoustic features in the frequency domain have an improved reliable manner over those of the time domain. It is also clear that the linear and differential amplitude fusion DIs in the frequency domain are more promising to indicate the propagation of fatigue cracks quantitatively than other fused ones.
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