A novel approach of locating damage in welded joints is proposed based on acoustic emission (AE) beamforming, which is particularly applicable to complex plate-like structures. First, five AE sensors used to obtain AE signals generated from damage are distributed on the surface of the structure in a uniform line array. Then the beamforming method is adopted to detect the weld joints in the area of interest rather than all the points of the whole structure, and to determine the location and obtain information of AE sources. In order to study the ability of the proposed method more comprehensively, a rectangular steel tube with welded joints is taken for the pencil-lead-broken test. The localization results indicate that the proposed localization approach can effectively localize the failure welded joints. This improvement greatly reduces the cost of computation and also improves the efficiency of localization work compared with the traditional beamforming.

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