Identification of crack size via an energy approach

Tai-Yan Kam*, T. Y. Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


An energy method for identifying the size of a crack at given location in structures using one measured eigencouple of the cracked structures is presented. The method utilizes the maximum strain energies of the structures both with and without a crack and the additional strain energy induced by the crack to construct the energy balance equation from which the size of the crack is evaluated through an iteration procedure. A pair of measured vibration frequency and mode shape of the cracked structure is used in a free vibration analysis to derive for its maximum strain energy. The maximum inertia force of the cracked structure is then applied to the uncracked structure with known stiffness and the resulting strain energy of the uncracked structure is obtained in a finite element analysis. Fracture mechanics is used to derive for the additional strain energy induced by the crack. Experimental investigations of several cracked free-free beams are performed to validate the proposed method. Examples of the identification of crack sizes for a number of damaged beam structures are given to further illustrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the present method. Overall the results are encouraging showing that the present method has the prospect of becoming an alternative approach for crack size detection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nondestructive Evaluation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 1994


  • Crack detection
  • finite element method
  • fracture mechanics
  • modal testing
  • nondestructive evaluation
  • structure


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