One implementation of the vibro-modulation technique involves monitoring the amplitude modulation of an ultrasonic vibration field transmitted through a cracked specimen undergoing an additional low frequency structural vibration. If the specimen is undamaged and appropriately supported, the two vibration fields do not interact. This phenomenon could be used as the basis for a nondestructive testing technique. In this paper, the sensitivity of the technique is investigated systematically on a set of mild steel beams with cracks of different sizes and shapes. A damage index was measured for each crack. The correlation obtained between the crack size and the strength of the modulation is fairly poor. The technique proved extremely sensitive to the initial state of opening and closing of the crack and to the setup due to the modulating effects of contacts between the specimens and the supports. A simple model is proposed which explains the main features observed and approximately predicts the level of sideband obtained experimentally.
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