In recent years, nonlinear vibro-acoustic methods have shown potential to identify defects which are difficult to detect using linear ultrasonic methods. However, these methods come with their own challenges such as frequency dependence, requirement for a high excitation amplitude, and difficulties in distinguishing nonlinearity from defect with nonlinearity from other sources to name a few. This paper aims to study the dependence of nonlinear vibro-acoustic methods for detection of delaminations inside a composite laminate, on the excitation methods and excitation frequencies. It is shown that nonlinear vibro-acoustic methods are highly frequency dependent and commonly used excitation signals which utilize particular values of excitation frequencies might not always lead to a clear distinction between intact and delaminated regions of the specimen. To overcome the frequency dependence, signals based on frequency sweep are used. Interpretation of output response to sweep signals to identify damage is demonstrated using an earlier available approach, and a simpler approach is proposed. It is demonstrated that the damage detection with sweep signal excitations is relatively less dependent on excitation frequency than the conventional excitation methods. The proposed interpretation technique is then applied to specimens with delamination of varying sizes and with delaminations at different depths inside the laminate to demonstrate its effectiveness.

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