Carbon fibre reinforced composite laminates are widely used in aerospace structures but are prone to barely visible impact damage (BVID). Depending on impact severity, delaminations can form below the surface of the laminate, reducing the load bearing capacity. Efficient structural health monitoring (SHM) of composite panels can be achieved using guided waves propagating along the structure. Propagation and scattering of the A0 Lamb wave mode in a quasi-isotropic composite laminate was modelled using full three-dimensional (3D) Finite Element (FE) simulations. Individual ply layers were modelled using homogeneous unidirectional composite material properties to accurately capture the anisotropy effects. FE predictions for scattering and energy trapping at delaminations were compared to experimental measurements.

Noncontact, full-wavefield guided wave measurements were obtained using a laser vibrometer. Good agreement was found between experiments and FE predictions. The effect of delamination shape and depth was investigated through a numerical parameter study. The angular dependency of the amplitude of the scattered wave was calculated. The influence of ply layer anisotropy on wave propagation in an undamaged laminate was investigated numerically. The sensitivity of guided waves for the detection of delaminations due to barely visible impact damage (BVID) in composite panels has been verified.

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