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Shock and Vibration
Volume 15, Issue 3-4, Pages 217-230

Structural Damage Detection Using Energy Flow Models

E.R.O. Santos, V.S. Pereira, J.R.F. Arruda, and J.M.C. Dos Santos

Computational Mechanics Department, Faculty of Mechanical Engineer, State University of Campinas, UNICAMP, P.O. Box 6122, Zip 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil

Received 29 April 2007; Revised 29 April 2007

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The presence of a crack in a structure modifies the energy dissipation pattern. As a consequence, damaged structures can present high localized damping. Experimental tests have revealed that crack nucleation and growth increase structural damping which makes this phenomenon useful as a damage locator. This paper examines the energy flow patterns caused by localized damping in rods, beams and plates using the Energy Finite Element Method (EFEM), the Spectral Element Method (SEM) and the Energy Spectral Element Method (ESEM) in order to detect and locate damage. The analyses are performed at high frequencies, where any localized structural change has a strong influence in the structural response. Simulated results for damage detection in rods, beams, and their couplings calculated by each method and using the element loss factor variation to model the damage, are presented and compared. Results for a simple thin plate calculated with EFEM are also discussed.