This paper proposes a new vibration-based structural health monitoring method for the identification of delamination defects in composite bulkheads used in small-length fiber-based ships. The core of this work is to find out if the variations of vibration energy can be efficiently used as a key performance indicator for the detection and quantification of delamination defects in marine composite bulkheads. For this purpose, the changes of vibrational energy exerted by delamination defects in sandwich and monolithic composite panel bulkheads with different types of delamination phenomenon are investigated using a non-destructive test. Experiments show that the overall vibration energy of the bulkheads is directly dependent on the damage conditions of the specimens and therefore, the variations of this parameter are a good indicator of the incorporation of delamination defects in composite bulkheads. Additionally, the overall vibration energy changes also give interesting information about the severity of the delamination defect in the panels. Hence, this methodology based on vibratory energy can be used to accurately determine delamination defects in medium-sized composite bulkheads with the advantages of being a simple and cost-effective approach. The findings of this research possess important applications for the identification of delamination failures in composite components such as bulkheads, turbine blades, and aircraft structures, among others.
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