In this study, a kind of meta-surface was designed for the improvement of nonlinear ultrasonic guided wave detection by creating bandgaps. It is composed of aluminum alloy cylinders arranged in a periodic pattern bounded on an aluminum plate. By artificially adjusting the height of the cylinders, the meta-surface can open up bandgaps over desired frequency ranges. Guided waves within the bandgap cannot propagate through the meta-surface and will be mechanically filtered out. To perform non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of structural components with fatigue cracks, the guided waves generated by a piezoelectric wafer active sensor (PWAS) propagate into the structure, interact with the crack, acquire nonlinear features, and are picked up by the receiver PWAS. In an ideal case, the waves excited by the transmitter PWAS should only contain signals at the fundamental frequency. However, due to the inherent nonlinearity of the electronic instrument, the generated signals are often mixed with weak superharmonic components. And these inherent higher harmonic signals will adversely affect the identifiability of nonlinear characteristics in the sensing signals. The bandgap mechanism and the wave vector dispersion relationship of the meta-surface are investigated using the modal analysis of a finite element model (FEM) by treating a unit structural cell with the Bloch-Floquet boundary condition. In this way, the meta-surface is carefully designed to obtain bandgaps at the desired frequency ranges. Then, a FEM harmonic analysis of a chain of unit cells is performed to further explore the bandgap efficiency. Finally, a coupled field transient dynamic FEM is constructed to simulate the improved nonlinear ultrasonic guided wave active sensing procedure with the bandgap meta-surface. The proposed method possesses great potential for future SHM and NDE applications.

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