Guided wave propagation theories have been widely explored for about one century. Earlier theories on single-layer elastic hollow cylinders have been very beneficial for practical nondestructive testing on piping and tubing systems. Guided wave flexural (nonaxisymmetric) modes in cylinders can be generated by a partial source loading or any nonaxisymmetric discontinuity. They are especially important for guided wave mode control and defect analysis. Previous investigations on guided wave propagation in multilayered hollow cylindrical structures mostly concentrate on the axisymmetric wave mode characteristics. In this paper, the problem of guided wave propagation in free hollow cylinders with viscoelastic coatings is solved by a semianalytical finite element (SAFE) method. Guided wave dispersion curves and attenuation characteristics for both axisymmetric and flexural modes are presented. Due to the fact that dispersion curve modes obtained from SAFE calculations are difficult to differentiate from each other, a mode sorting method is established to distinguish modes by their orthogonality. Theoretical proof of the orthogonality between guided wave modes in a viscoelastic coated hollow cylinder is provided. Wave structures are also calculated and discussed in view of wave mechanics in multilayered cylindrical structures containing viscoelastic materials.

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