Damage location in structures by monitoring vibration characteristics

  • Adnan N.J. Al-Tamimi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The aim of this work was to investigate the feasibility of detecting and locating damage in large frame structures where visual inspection would be difficult or impossible. This method is based on a vibration technique for non-destructively assessing the integrity of structures by using measurements of changes in the natural frequencies. Such measurements can be made at a single point in the structure.
The method requires that initially a comprehensive theoretical vibration analysis of the structure is undertaken and from it predictions are made of changes in dynamic characteristics that will occur if each member of the structure is damaged in turn. The natural frequencies of the undamaged structure are measured, and then routinely remeasured at intervals . If a change in the natural
frequencies is detected a statistical method. is used to make the best match between the measured changes in frequency and the family of theoretical predictions. This predicts the most likely damage site.
The theoretical analysis was based on the finite element method. Many
structures were extensively studied and a computer model was used to
simulate the effect of the extent and location of the damage on natural frequencies. Only one such analysis is required for each structure to be investigated.
The experimental study was conducted on small structures In the laboratory. Frequency changes were found from inertance measurements on various plane and space frames.
The computational requirements of the location analysis are small and a desk-top micro computer was used. Results of this work showed that the method was successful in detecting and locating damage in the test structures.
Date of AwardFeb 1985
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn E.T. Penny (Supervisor)


  • non-destructive stests
  • defect location
  • F.E.M.
  • natural frequency
  • inertance

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