Acousto-ultrasonics (AU) is a nondestructive evaluation (NDE) technique that utilizes two ultrasonic transducers to interrogate the condition of a test specimen. The sending transducer introduces an ultrasonic pulse at a point on the surface of the specimen while a receiving transducer detects the signal after it has passed through the material. The aim of the method is to correlate certain empirical parameters of the detected waveform to characteristics of the material between the two transducers. The waveform parameter of interest is the attenuation due to internal damping for which information is being garnered from the frequency domain. Here, the three parameters utilized to indirectly quantify the attenuation are the ultrasonic decay rate, the mean square value of the power spectrum, and the centroid of the power spectrum. The sensitivity for each of these AU parameters was assessed with respect to the damage state of two types of SiC/SiC ceramic matrix composites (CMC). The two composite systems both had Hi-NicalonTM fibers with a carbon interface but had different matrix compositions that led to considerable differences in damage accumulation. Load/unload/reload tensile tests were performed and in-situ AU measurements were made over the entire stress range. After analyzing the AU parameters, the overall sensitivity of the AU technique to material change or damage was quantified and shown to correlate well with the observed damage mechanisms for both material systems. In addition, the AU response was shown to be dependent on the stress state of the composites. This stress dependent behavior was observed while unloading the specimens from the maximum stress, thereby, maintaining a constant damage state.

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