In cylindrical structures such as pipelines, cracks are more likely to occur along the longitudinal (axial) direction and they are usually fatal to the serviceability of the structures. Unfortunately, the conventional ultrasonic crack detection methods are not very sensitive to this type of cracks. This paper focuses on using piezoelectric macro-fiber composite (MFC) to generate torsional wave for health monitoring of cylindrical structures. Numerical simulations are performed using ANSYS. Nodal release method is used to model the crack. Experimental verifications are also presented. Four pieces of MFC oriented at 45° against the axis of the specimen are used to generate both longitudinal wave and torsional wave. The numerical results and the experimental results show that the axial-direction crack propagation in cylindrical structures can be well monitored using the presented wave propagation approach.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.