Matched Filter for Acoustic Emission Monitoring in Noisy Environments: Application to Wire Break Detection

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Regular inspections of important civil infrastructures are mandatory to ensure structural safety and reliability. Until today, these inspections are primarily conducted manually, which has several deficiencies. In context of prestressed concrete structures, steel tendons can be susceptible to stress corrosion cracking, which may result in breakage of individual wires that is visually not observable. Recent research therefore suggests Acoustic Emission Monitoring for wire break detection in prestressed concrete structures. However, in noisy environments, such as wind turbines, conventional acoustic emission detection based on user-defined amplitude thresholds may not be suitable. Thus, we propose the use of matched filters for acoustic emission detection in noisy environments and apply the proposed method to the task of wire break detection in post-tensioned wind turbine towers. Based on manually conducted wire breaks and rebound hammer tests on a large-scale test frame, we employ a brute-force search for the most suitable query signal of a wire break event and a rebound hammer impact, respectively. Then, we evaluate the signal detection performance on more than 500 other wire break signals and approximately one week of continuous acoustic emission recordings in an operating wind turbine. For a signal-to-noise ratio of 0 dB, the matched filter approach shows an improvement in AUC by up to 0.78 for both, the wire break and the rebound hammer query signal, compared to state-of-the-art amplitude-based detection. Even for the unscaled wire break measurements originally recorded at the 12 m large laboratory test frame, the improvement in AUC still lies between 0.01 and 0.25 depending on the wind turbine noise recordings considered for evaluation. Matched filters may therefore be a promising alternative to amplitude-based detection algorithms and deserve particular consideration with regard to Acoustic Emission Monitoring, especially in noisy environments or when sparse senor networks are required.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-218
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0001-8735-1345/work/160479745


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • acoustic emission, bridge monitoring, damage detection, matched filter, non-destructive testing, pattern matching, structural health monitoring