Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Sundaresan, Mannur


Real time monitoring of damage is an important aspect of life management of critical structures. Acoustic emission (AE) techniques allow for measurement and assessment of damage in real time. Acoustic emission parameters such as signal amplitude and duration were monitored during the loading sequences. Criteria that can indicate the onset of critical damage to the structure were developed. Tracking the damage as it happens gives a better analysis of the failure evolution that will allow for a more accurate determination of structural life. The main challenge is distinguishing between legitimate damage signals and "false positives" which are unrelated to damage growth. Such false positives can be related to electrical noise, friction, or mechanical vibrations. This research focuses on monitoring signals of damage growth in carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRPs) and separating the relevant signals from the false ones. In this Dissertation, acoustic emission signals from CFRP specimens were experimentally recorded and analyzed. The objectives of this work are: (1) perform static and fatigue loading of CFRP composite specimens and measure the associated AE signals, (2) accurately determine the AE parameters (energy, frequency, duration, etc.) of signals generated during failure of such specimens, (3) use fiber optic sensors to monitor the strain distribution of the damage zone and relate the changes in strain measurements to AE data.