A High Performance Parallel and Heterogeneous Approach to Narrowband Beamforming
As civil infrastructure ages, the early detection of damage in a structure becomes increasingly important for both life safety and economic reasons. This paper describes the analysis procedures used for beamforming acoustic emission techniques as well as the promising results of preliminary experimental tests on a concrete bridge deck. The method of acoustic emission offers a tool for detecting damage, such as cracking, as it occurs on or in a structure. In order to gain meaningful information from acoustic emission analyses, the damage must be localized. Current acoustic emission systems with localization capabilities are very costly and difficult to install. Sensors must be placed throughout the structure to ensure that the damage is encompassed by the array. Beamforming offers a promising solution to these problems and permits the use of wireless sensor networks for acoustic emission analyses. Using the beamforming technique, the azmuthal direction of the location of the damage may be estimated by the stress waves impinging upon a small diameter array (e.g. 30mm) of acoustic emission sensors. Additional signal discrimination may be gained via array processing techniques such as the VESPA process. The beamforming approach requires no arrival time information and is based on very simple delay and sum beamforming algorithms which can be easily implemented on a wireless sensor or mote.