Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Tian, Zhenhua

Committee Member

Belk, Davy

Committee Member

Reeves, Kari

Committee Member

Sescu, Adrian

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Aerospace engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Aerospace Engineering


Composite materials have increasingly been used as an alternative to metals and other isotropic materials for primary structural components in aerospace industries. Unlike traditional isotropic materials, composite materials are known to have complex internal microstructures. Therefore, it is essential to develop methods for the inspection, evaluation, and monitoring of composite materials. Ultrasonic-guided waves and, more precisely, Lamb waves have proven to be an efficient and accurate technique for the non-destructive testing. Since guided waves are dispersive and multimodal, it is important to develop a practical method to manipulate Lamb waves to achieve better structural health monitoring and non-destructive inspection results. There are minimal studies involving manipulating guided waves for the inspection of composite materials. Moreover, the currently proposed methods to manipulate Lamb waves are complex and costly.

The objective of this dissertation research is to offer practical and straightforward methods with a simple design to control Lamb waves using additively manufactured lenses used as superstrates on composite plates. This dissertation is organized in three major parts. Part I focuses on the Lamb wave propagation in composite plates with different lay-up and plate orientations. Finite element simulations were performed to investigate the behavior of Lamb wave propagation in different plates. A semi-finite element approach was used to derive the dispersive curves in each plate.

In Part II, a lap-joint study was conducted to investigate the interaction of Lamb waves in the lap joint regions. Two different lap joints were considered, composite-aluminum and composite-plastic. In each lap joint the thickness of the top surface (aluminum or plastic) is continuously increased.

In Part III, additively manufactured lenses are designed to modulate the wavefront of Lamb waves in thick composite plates. The first design is a prism-shaped lens proposed to steer Lamb waves to a targeted direction. Multiple prism designs are considered to offer a flexible steering direction by either changing the prism thickness or the wedge angle. The second design is a plano-concave shaped lens designed to focus the Lamb wave at a targeted focal point.

This dissertation research will provide a clear understanding of Lamb wave propagation in anisotropic material, anisotropic-isotropic lap joints, and wavefront modulation on anisotropic material using additively manufactured lenses. This approach contributes to the development of better quality SHM for online monitoring systems.