Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

David K. Hsu

Second Advisor

Dale E. Chimenti


This dissertation focuses on two important nondestructive evaluation and materials characterization problems related to composite laminates: ply lay-up characterization and elastic property determination. For ply lay-up characterization, we have developed a shear wave transmission technique to effectively detect ply lay-up errors in composite laminates. The effects of fiber orientation on normal-incident shear waves propagating through a composite laminate have been investigated both theoretically and experimentally. To facilitate rotation, EMATs (electromagnetic acoustic transducers) were used to generate and receive the shear waves. It was found that the transmitted shear waves when the EMAT transmitter and receiver were perpendicular to each other had a great sensitivity to ply lay-up errors. This technique has been successfully demonstrated on both cured and uncured composite laminates. For elastic property determination, we have first applied the simultaneous velocity and thickness imaging technique to map out small changes in ultrasonic velocity (hence elastic constant) when the material thickness was unknown or varied spatially. Applications to several industrial materials have demonstrated the usefulness of this technique for both materials characterization and flaw detection in metals and composite laminates. We have also extended this technique to generate images of sample surface contours and cross-sectional profiles when the velocity was unknown. Next, we have extended the synthetic aperture scanning method using planar transducers in an immersion leaky wave reflection or transmission measurement to allow the use of focused transducers. The complex transducer point approach has been used to model the receiver output voltage and to analyze the transducer beam effects on the result of a synthetic aperture scan. It was found that the large angular beam spread of focused transducers can be used for rapid mapping of the reflection or transmission coefficient and the associated dispersion spectrum. A novel stepwise, targeted procedure has also been developed to allow efficient reconstruction of material elastic property with only minimal use of the highly redundant dispersion spectrum data. Experiments on both isotropic and anisotropic plates showed that this method can be used for rapid evaluation of the elastic behavior of composite laminates and other plate materials with a reasonably good accuracy.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Dong Fei



Proquest ID


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File Size

194 pages