Noncontact and remote NDE systems and methods are highly desired in a broad range of engineering applications such as material property characterization. This paper aims to develop such a noncontact/remote NDE system based on laser ultrasonic guided waves and establish its fundamental capability for material thickness evaluation. The noncontact system employs pulsed laser (PL) for guided wave actuation and scanning laser Doppler vibrometer (SLDV) for guided wave wavefield sensing. A cylindrical planoconvex lens is adopted to focus the pulsed laser beam to a line source in order to excite broad band signals in the target plate. Aluminum plates with different thicknesses are evaluated through SLDV line scans and 2D time-space wavefields are acquired. Frequency-wavenumber (f-k) spectra are obtained through 2D Fourier transform, and the A0 dispersion curve for each plate is extracted. Through Comparing the extracted A0 curve with the theoretical A0 dispersion curves, the thicknesses of the tested plates are identified. Reflective tape effect on the plates are also studied: the reflective tape attached for SLDV enhancement affects the guided waves in the target plate significantly when the plate is relatively thin.

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