Defect Detection via Instrumented Impact in Thick-Sectioned Laminate Composites

  • Shane Esola
  • Ivan Bartoli
  • Suzanne E. Horner
  • James Q. Zheng
  • Antonios KontsosEmail author


The application of impact-based nondestructive inspection to thick-sectioned laminate composite parts, although widely reported, is still hampered by a number of challenges. In this article, microphone-recorded impact response variations are associated with delaminations within a variety of test specimens, building in complexity from metal to composite simulant and finally toward the application of the method to hard armor protective inserts. Defective and defect-free states are verified a priori by both operator quality inspections and X-ray computed tomography. Potential delamination-discriminating metrics are determined by signal processing of vibroacoustic data. Prior reported “tap test” metrics that focus on impact force-time histories are shown to be insufficient for thick-sections laminates. The empirical results reported herein, additionally supported by simulations, suggest that large defects may be detectible via a frequency content analysis. Method limitations, potential confounds, and the extension to the case of smaller defects is discussed.


Vibroacoustics Nondestructive evaluation Tap test Delamination Composites 



U.S. Army Program Executive Office—Soldier (Award # W91CRB-13-P-0057) provided funding for this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shane Esola
    • 1
  • Ivan Bartoli
    • 2
  • Suzanne E. Horner
    • 3
  • James Q. Zheng
    • 3
  • Antonios Kontsos
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Theoretical & Applied Mechanics Group Member, Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics DepartmentDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering DepartmentDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Program Executive Office – Soldier, U.S. ArmyFort BelvoirUSA
  4. 4.Theoretical & Applied Mechanics Group Director, Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics DepartmentDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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