Natural beam focusing of non-axisymmetric guided waves in large-diameter pipes

Jian Li, Joseph L. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


The propagation of non-axisymmetric guided waves in larger diameter pipes is studied in this paper by treating the guided waves as corresponding Lamb waves in an unwrapped plate. This approximation leads to a simpler method for calculating the phase velocities of hollow cylinder guided waves, which reveals a beam focusing nature of non-axisymmetric guided waves generated by a partial source loading. The acoustic fields in a pipe generated by a partial-loading source includes axisymmetric longitudinal modes as well as non-axisymmetric flexural modes. The circumferential distribution of the total acoustic field, also referred as an angular profile, diverges circumferentially while guided waves propagate with dependence on such factors as mode, frequency, cylinder size, propagation distance, etc. Exact prediction of the angular profile of the total field can only be realized by numerical calculations. In particular cases, however, when the wall thickness is far less than the cylinder diameter and the wavelength is smaller than or comparable to the pipe wall thickness, the acoustic field can be analyzed based on the characteristics of Lamb waves that travel along a periodic unwrapped plate. Based on this assumption, a simplified model is derived to calculate the phase velocities of non-axisymmetric flexural mode guided waves. The model is then applied to discussions on some particular characteristics of guided-wave angular profiles generated by a source loading. Some features of flexural modes, such as cutoff frequency values are predicted with the simpler model. The relationship between the angular profiles and other factors such as frequency, propagation distance, and cylinder size is obtained and presented in simple equations. The angular profile rate of change with respect to propagation distance is investigated. In particular, our simplified model for non-axisymmetric guided waves predicts that the wave beam will converge to its original circumferential shape after the wave propagates for a certain distance. A concept of "natural focal point" is introduced and a simple equation is derived to compute the 1st natural focal distance of non-axisymmetric guided waves. The applicable range of the simplified equation is provided. Industrial pipes meet the requirement of wall thickness being far less than the pipe diameter. The approximate analytical algorithms presented in this paper provides a convenient method enabling quick acoustic field analysis on large-diameter industrial pipes for NDE applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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