A method and apparatus is shown for implementing magnetostrictive sensor techniques for the nondestructive evaluation of railroad rails. The system includes magnetostrictive sensors specifically designed for application in conjunction with railroad rails and trains that generate guided waves in the railroad rails which travel therethrough in a direction parallel to the surface of the railroad rail. Similarly structured sensors are positioned to detect the guided waves (both incident and reflected) and generate signals representative of the characteristics of the guided waves detected that are reflected from anomalies in the structure such as transverse defects. The sensor structure is longitudinal in nature and generates a guided wave having a wavefront parallel to the longitudinal axis of the sensor, and which propagates in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the sensor. The generated guided waves propagate in the rail within the path of the propagating wave. The reflected waves from these abnormalities are detected using a magnetostrictive sensor. Shear horizontal waves may also be created by rotating the magnetic bias 90.degree. and used for similar inspection techniques.
Hegeon Kwun; Glenn M. Light