Investigation of concrete crack kinematics through probability density field of the location of acoustic emission events

Fengqiao Zhang*, Yuguang Yang, Max A.N. Hendriks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Monitoring or identifying structural cracks is crucial for assessing the health of existing concrete structures. Key information about structural cracking encompasses the location of the crack and its kinematics, which include movements perpendicular and parallel to the crack face. Acoustic emission (AE) is a sensitive technique for detecting the location of internal concrete cracking. However, the state-of-the-art AE monitoring methods offer limited information on crack kinematics, restricting the use of AE in crack assessment. To bridge this gap, this paper uses a recently proposed AE data analysis method that quantifies the spatial distribution of AE events along a crack probabilistically. This method uses a parameter referred to as the probability density of AE events (pdAE). By combining pdAE and crack kinematics measured by digital image correlation in a series of real-scale concrete beam tests, this paper investigates the relationship between AE events and crack kinematics. The analysed cracks are generated by a combination of bending moment and shear forces, as commonly observed in real structural concrete members. We find that the amount of AE events is not only related to crack width (the crack movement perpendicular to the crack face), as most literature suggests, but also to the complete crack kinematics throughout the loading history of the member. We then provide a physical explanation for the observed relationships between concrete crack kinematics and the quantity of AE events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number132595
Number of pages12
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Concrete structures
  • Crack kinematics
  • Digital image correlation
  • Probability density of acoustic emission events
  • Source localization


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