Stochastic method for in-situ damage analysis
Based on the physics of stochastic processes we present a new approach for structural health monitoring. We show that the new method allows for an in-situ analysis of the elastic features of a mechanical structure even for realistic excitations with correlated noise as it appears in real-world situations. In particular an experimental set-up of undamaged and damaged beam structures was exposed to a noisy excitation under turbulent wind conditions. The method of reconstructing stochastic equations from measured data has been extended to realistic noisy excitations like those given here. In our analysis the deterministic part is separated from the stochastic dynamics of the system and we show that the slope of the deterministic part, which is linked to mechanical features of the material, changes sensitively with increasing damage. The results are more significant than corresponding changes in eigenfrequencies, as commonly used for structural health monitoring.