Nonlinear acoustics and honeycomb materials

Thompson, Donald
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The scope of research activity that Bruce Thompson embraced was very large. In this talk three different research topics that the author shared with Bruce are reviewed. They represent Bruce's introduction to NDE and include nonlinear acoustics, nondestructive measurements of adhesive bond strengths in honeycomb panels, and studies of flexural wave dispersion in honeycomb materials. In the first of these, four harmonics of a 30 Mhz finite amplitude wave were measured for both fused silica and aluminum single crystals with varying lengths and amounts of cold work using a capacity microphone with heterodyne receiver with a flat frequency response from 30 to 250 Mhz. The results for fused silica with no dislocation structure could be described by a model due to Fubini, originally developed for gases, that depends upon only the second and third order elastic constants and not the fourth and higher order constants. The same was not true for the aluminum with dislocation structures. These results raised some questions about models for harmonic generation in materials with dislocations. In the second topic, experiments were made to determine the adhesive bond strengths of honeycomb panels using the vibrational response of the panels (Chladni figures). The results showed that both the damping characteristics of panel vibrations as a whole and velocity of propagation of elastic waves that travel along the surface and sample the bondline can be correlated with destructively determined bond strengths. Finally, the phase velocity of flexural waves traveling along a 1-inch honeycomb sandwich panel was determined from 170 Hz to 50 Khz, ranging from 2.2×104 cm/sec at the low end to 1.18×105 cm/sec at 40 Khz. The dispersion arises from the finite thickness of the panel and agreed with the results of continuum models for the honeycomb. Above 40 Khz, this was not the case. The paper concludes with a tribute to Bruce for his many wonderful contributions and lessons beyond his technical legacy for all of us.


Copyright 2012 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.

This article appeared in AIP Conference Proceedings 1430 (2012): 16–27 and may be found at h

acoustic emission testing, adhesion, adhesive bonding, condition monitoring, damping, elastic waves, honeycomb structures, nondestructive testing, sandwich structures, structural engineering, structural panels, vibrations, nondestructive evaluation, QNDE