Early detection of impact fatigue damage in an adhesively-bonded connection using acoustic emission

S. Khoshmanesh*, S. J. Watson, D. Zarouchas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Wind turbine blades carry the risk of impact damage during transportation, installation, and operation. Such impacts can cause levels of damage that can propagate throughout the structure compromising performance and safety. In this study, the effect of impact damage on fatigue damage propagation in test specimens representative of a spar cap-shear web adhesively-bonded connection of a wind turbine blade was investigated. In addition, the effectiveness of using acoustic emissions to detect early impact-induced fatigue damage was studied. Three impact tests with increasing levels of energy were investigated. The results showed that for an impact test with an average energy of 16.32 J, the fatigue damage accumulation process was not influenced by the size and location of the impact damage. But for impact tests with an average energy of 23.68 J and 32.13 J, greater crack density and accelerated de-lamination and de-bonding of the adhesive from the laminate could be seen in the impact zone. Acoustic emission was shown to identify the position of the damage zone for the higher energy impact tests. It was also effective in showing the progressive accumulation of fatigue damage in this zone during the fatigue test.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117973
Number of pages16
JournalEngineering Structures
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Acoustic emission
  • Adhesive joint
  • Damage detection
  • Fatigue
  • Impact


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