Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Aerospace Engineering


The boundary element method (BEM) is used to numerically simulate the interaction of ultrasonic waves with material defects such as voids, inclusions, and open cracks. The time harmonic formulation is in 3D and therefore allows flaws of arbitrary shape to be modeled. The BEM makes such problems feasible because the underlying boundary integral equation only requires a surface (2D) integration and difficulties associated with the seemingly infinite extent of the host domain are not encountered. The computer code utilized in this work is built upon recent advances in elastodynamic boundary element theory such as a scheme for self adjusting integration order and singular integration regularization. Incident fields may be taken as compressional or shear plane waves or predicted by an approximate Gauss-Hermite beam model. The code is highly optimized for voids and has been coupled with computer aided engineering packages for automated flaw shape definition and mesh generation. Subsequent graphical display of intermediate results supports model refinement and physical interpretation. Final results are typically cast in a nondestructive evaluation (NDE) context as either scattering amplitudes or flaw signals (via a measurement model based on a reciprocity integral). The near field is also predicted which allows for improved physical insight into the scattering process and the evaluation of certain modeling approximations;The accuracy of the BEM approach is first examined by comparing its predictions to those of other models for single, isolated scatterers. The comparisons are with the predictions of analytical solutions for spherical defects and with MOOT and T-matrix calculations for axisymmetric flaws. Experimental comparisons are also made for volumetric shapes with different characteristic dimensions in all three directions, since no other numerical approach has yet produced results of this type. Theoretical findings regarding the fictitious eigenfrequency difficulty are substantiated through the analytical solution of a fundamental elastodynamics problem and corresponding BEM studies;Given the confidence in the BEM technique engendered by these comparisons, it is then used to investigate the modeling of "open", cracklike defects amenable to a volumetric formulation. The limits of applicability of approximate theories (e.g., quasistatic, Kirchhoff, and geometric theory of diffraction) are explored for elliptical cracks, from this basis. The problem of two interacting scatterers is then considered. Results from a fully implicit approach and from a more efficient hybrid scheme are compared with generalized Born and farfield approximate interaction theories.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Paul Jay Schafbuch



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249 pages