A Signal Processing Approach with a Smooth Empirical Mode Decomposition to Reveal Hidden Trace of Corrosion in Highly Contaminated Guided Wave Signals for Concrete-Covered Pipes

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Original languageEnglish
Article number302
Journal / PublicationSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Online published7 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017



Ultrasonic guided waves have been extensively applied for non-destructive testing of plate-like structures particularly pipes in past two decades. In this regard, if a structure has a simple geometry, obtained guided waves’ signals are easy to explain. However, any small degree of complexity in the geometry such as contacting with other materials may cause an extra amount of complication in the interpretation of guided wave signals. The problem deepens if defects have irregular shapes such as natural corrosion. Signal processing techniques that have been proposed for guided wave signals’ analysis are generally good for simple signals obtained in a highly controlled experimental environment. In fact, guided wave signals in a real situation such as the existence of natural corrosion in wall-covered pipes are much more complicated. Considering pipes in residential buildings that pass through concrete walls, in this paper we introduced Smooth Empirical Mode Decomposition (SEMD) to efficiently separate overlapped guided waves. As empirical mode decomposition (EMD) which is a good candidate for analyzing non-stationary signals, suffers from some shortcomings, wavelet transform was adopted in the sifting stage of EMD to improve its outcome in SEMD. However, selection of mother wavelet that suits best for our purpose plays an important role. Since in guided wave inspection, the incident waves are well known and are usually tone-burst signals, we tailored a complex tone-burst signal to be used as our mother wavelet. In the sifting stage of EMD, wavelet de-noising was applied to eliminate unwanted frequency components from each IMF. SEMD greatly enhances the performance of EMD in guided wave analysis for highly contaminated signals. In our experiment on concrete covered pipes with natural corrosion, this method not only separates the concrete wall indication clearly in time domain signal, a natural corrosion with complex geometry that was hidden and located inside the concrete section was successfully exposed.

Research Area(s)

  • NDT, Signal processing, Ultrasonic guided wave

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