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NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING OF COMPLEX COMPOSITE MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES USING OPTICAL TECHNIQUES

Michel HONLET (Honlet Optical Systems GmbH - PFAFFENHOFEN - Germany)

ABSTRACT With the advantage of receiving a full-field information, the capability to inspect various materials or to provide data without contact or markings, Optical NDI techniques provide huge potential cost savings both in manufacturing and for inspection, especially of advanced materials and complex structures. This paper describes practical aspects and shows examples using DSight, laser-generated ultrasound, holography, shearography, thermography and thermographic stress analysis. It is discussed that, to choose the right NDT technique for a specific application, different criteria have to be taken into consideration.
RSUM

En permettant de mesurer sans contact ou sans marquages sur des matriaux divers, mme simultanment sur toute une surface, les mthodes optiques pour le CND peuvent diminuer considrablement les cots dinspection aussi bien en production quen maintenance, surtout pour les matriaux sophistiqus ou des structures complexes. Plusieurs aspects pratiques concernant le D-Sight, les ultrasons laser, lholographie, la shearographie, la thermographie et lemission thermolastique sont prsents, ainsi que des exemples. Il y a aussi discussion que, pour choisir la technique la mieux adapte une application spcifique, il faut considrer diffrents critres. INTRODUCTION
With the development and increasing physical demand to new materials and structures but also the higher expectations concerning saferty and reliability, the quality control issues have increased, too. Well-known and established inspection techniques like ultrasound, x-ray, eddy current a.s.o. cannot always follow this progress. In spite of continous improvements they are often physically limited, especially with new materials like composite. Engineers can succeed to outsmart these limitations or to redefine them. But there are other, technologically independent demands like inspection speed, automation grade and the reduction of costy

NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING OF COMPLEX COMPOSITE MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES USING OPTICAL TECHNIQUES (continuation) inspection personal, which cannot be reached by simply multiplying the technological effort. Mainly these parameters make it necessary to introduce a change of ideas, not only the technical limitations. In future quality control should ideally be completely automatic in the production cycle, while it must be possible that manual inspection can be achieved by technicians, even when the materials and structures become more complex.

MAIN FEATURES AND ADVANTAGES OF OPTICAL NDT TECHNIQUES


Today optical techniques have become again an interesting alternative for nondestructive testing, compared to so-called conventional methods. Why? The answer can be described by the main features and advantages: a) NON-CONTACT This is interesting when contact to the object, markings or a preparation are not possible or when access to the object is difficult. The inspection distance is mostly quite flexible. b) FULL-FIELD Areas between some square millimeters and some square meters can be observed or inspected simultaneously. This enables huge time savings or high inspection rates. c) NO MARKINGS Inspection can almost start immediately on most materials, mostly without further object preparation (except for some cases where a surface coating can be helpful or necessary). d) NO CONSUMABLES Meanwhile most optical techniques use electrooptic sensors like CCDcameras. This particularly made it possible to measure in real-time. Most of the optical techniques described in this paper have these characteristics. They are a fundamental base to save costs because time to perform quality control and expectations to inspection personnel can be strongly reduced. In this paper X-rays are deliberately considered as a so-called conventional technique, regarding the classic use in NDI. Photoelasticity is also a well-known optical technique, but it will always need preparation work and consumables. So it is not suitable for a fast inspection but rather for research. Despite the use of lasers the imminence of optical techniques is very low for the object to be inspected. Nevertheless, in order to avoid plastic deformations or other irreversible damage the correct use of loading devices, necessary while working with some methods, is often more important than the techniques itself.

SELECTION OF AN OPTICAL METHOD FOR NDT APPLICATIONS


Conventional sensors are normally used for one specific material or application, e.g. for ultrasound. Optical techniques require a change in how to apply them. For example a holographic sensor can be used for many different applications. It can record and display various informations, like static deformations, maxima and minima of vibration amplitudes, this, according to the setup, for different directions (inplane, out-of-plane). So it is really important to define first, before any choice for an optical method is done, WHAT has to be measured respectively seen. It can happen that on a specific component only an optical technique delivers very good data, but the same technique can fail if the loading method or another general condition changes. Most of the presented techniques have in common that they observe the behaviour of an object, globally and locally, under static or dynamic loading conditions. Sometimes an external loading of the component is necessary to observe and locate secondary effects, mostly produced by invisible or inner defects laying

NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING OF COMPLEX COMPOSITE MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES USING OPTICAL TECHNIQUES (continuation) below the surface. Today several optical methods are successfully used in material research for the experi-mental verification of calculated models. In production all gained information enables an automatic or manual classification in terms of quality or a binary decision to accept or reject a component. Usually an expert will help to determine which is the most appropriate technique to satisfy the testing goal. The following list contains the most important criteria to guide toward a correct choice for an optical NDT method. These strategic questions for a choice of the appropriate optical technique and system apply to: the aim: the data origin: (relatively)? the loading method: the result form: the resolution: the inspection course: the recording time: the result time: the operation: conditions ? the consumables: ? the investment: the environment: what exactly has to be measured, to be found, to be detected ? can the data be gained directly (absolutely) or by comparing two states is it necessary or not to apply a natural or external stress, or not allowed at all ? must the data be presented qualitatively or are quantitative values required ? which resolution is necessary for the results, or what is the minimum defect size? should the measurement run in manual, semi-automatic or automatic mode ? what is the maximum cycle time to achieve all necessary measurements ? how fast the final result must it be available (images produce a huge data mass) ? is the method simpel to use? Does it work under regular environmental are consumables avoidable (costs and dependency) or necessary (film archiving) is it viable (most optical NDT techniques are quite expensive) ? does the testing place allow the use of a sometimes highly sensitive technique?

Aim, principle, main advantages and disadvantages of six optical techniques for NDT are described below: a) D-SIGHT surface inspection, corrosion inspection, impact damage location Aim: Image enhancement technique to visualize local effects or defects (absolute.technique) Principle: D-Sight allows comprehensive surface inspection of sheet metal, glass, plastics and composite panels. The technique converts local variations in surface shape into light intensities. The resulting images dramatically indicate structural characteristics but also surface anomalies like dents, bulbs and impact damages. Advantages: Disadvantages: + easy inspection of large and flat surfaces measuring device is bound to type of material + simpel setup, no special safety regulations limited possibilities on strongly shaped surfaces + advanced inspection documentation classification of defects is subjective + constant results, independent from operator often highlighting of the surface necessary + inspection without loading the component b) LASER-ULTRASONICS ultrasound inspection (A,B,C-Scan) of complex materials, Contouring of shaped parts Aim: Laser-generated ultrasound, pulsed echo-technique, T-O-F for contouring (absolute Principle: techn.) A laser beam is modulated with ultrasound frequency and scans large object surfaces. The light energy is converted into mechanical waves penetrating the object. A second, superimposed beam measures echoed

NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING OF COMPLEX COMPOSITE MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES USING OPTICAL TECHNIQUES (continuation) US signals. T-O-F measurement of the beams enables to record the shape and thickness of contoured parts. Advantages: Disadvantages: + huge time savings, for metals and composites very high investment costs + easy NDI of large and complex shaped parts special safety regulations for laser operation + distance up to max. 4 m, needs no couplant higher teaching period due to system complexity + reduced normalcy requirement (+/- 60) still limited in detection of vertical cracks + can superimpose US results on contour data + can be operated by at higher temperatures (1000)

c) SHEAROGRAPHY
locate inner defects like disbonds, delaminations, cracks, corrosion Aim: full-field, interferometric measurement of deformation gradients (relative technique) Principle: Shearography inspects simultaneously a full area which is illuminated with a divergent laser beam. In fact it achieves the interferometric comparison of two points having a fix distance on the surface of the component. This happens allover the area, for all recorded points. Only the gradient of a deformation is measured, as only local deformations are observed. Global deformations or rigid body motions have a low amplitude, which enables to use this technique in an industrial environment Advantages: Disadvantages: + adaptable for complex materials, flexible use interpretation of the results is not easy + less sensitive than holography, shows gradients special safety regulations for laser operation + higher local sensitivity, shows only local effects location of defects must be corrected slightly + Eliminates rigid body motions on optical way component must be loaded to see any result + real loading simulations, even at high temperature result depends from lateral shearing vector

d) HOLOGRAPHY Deformation measurement, indirectly strain- and stress measurement Aim: fullfield and interferometric observation of real deformations (relative technique) Principle: Nowadays electronic principles of holography called ESPI (electronic speckle pattern interferometry) using CCD cameras have become very popular. Beside the fact that they dont need anymore consumables real-time measurement is the big advantage. Basically two or more pictures of the object recorded at different instants are compared. A quantitative comparison is possible because each state of the object is recorded together with a fix reference. For dynamic measurements the illumination is modulated. Advantages: Disadvantages: + very versatile technique , many possibilities very sensitive to environmental conditions + shows what really happens to the object laser use requires special safety regulations + very high sensitivity, shows quickly all effects needs experience for correct use + measurements now possible up to mm-range difficult to separate superposition of effects + real loading conditions can be simulated component must be loaded to see any result + direction of sensitivity can be clearly defined result depends always from sensitivity vector e) THERMOGRAPHY
locate inner or surface defects, thickness measurement Aim: Observation of the thermal equilibrium after thermal disturbance (relative technique) Principle: By visualizing the selectively disturbed thermal balance after a momentary energy pulse emitted from flash lamps, lasers, heat guns or modulated heat lamps various full-field data can be provided, e.g. geometric deviations in metals & ceramics or flaws or defects in advanced materials like CRP & composite structures.

NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING OF COMPLEX COMPOSITE MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES USING OPTICAL TECHNIQUES (continuation) Advantages: + versatile technique, for different aims + high sensitivity, finds many defects + can look inside a structure up to a few mm + simple optical setup, no special safety requirements + works always with the same loading principle Disadvantages: object must be darkened for pulsed heating the camera must still be cooled, consumable can only be used by specialists for NDT must be calibrated regularily limitation at higher temperatures

f) THERMOGRAPHIC STRESS ANALYSIS (TSA)


locate sums of stresses, analyse crack propagation Aim: Recording temperature distributions generated by thermoelastic effect (relative Principle: technique) Applying a cyclic loading on a solid material will concentrate volumetric changes at locations where the loading forces sum up to high tensions. The resulting thermoelastic effect produces a local energy change. This temperature distribution is registrated in real-time with temperature-sensitive sensors like scanning laser beams or, more recently, with focal plane arrays. Advantages: Disadvantages: + very easy detection of local stress concentrations measures sum of stresses, not its components + enables fast analysis of crack propagations insensitive for inplane or global movements + high sensitivity for object, very low for environment the camera must still be cooled, consumable + simple set up, camera on a tripod, daylight conditions needs cyclic loading, not a simple difference + object must not be prepared nor calibrated very expensive (focal plane array systems) + works also at higher temperatures (500C)

CONCLUSION AND EXAMPLES


The success of a nondestructive inspection depends primarily of the correct choice of a testing method. Regarding complex components like a composite structure the results from any NDT method must often be completed by the resuts of another measurement technique. The goal of optical techniques is not to simply substitute conventional methods but to offer, in a complementary way, a potential to gather data rapidly and cost-effectively in a non-destructive inspection program or for experimental verification of calculated models. It is impossible to define which optical method is the best. There is no winning technique, as it all depends of the application. Several criterias must be considered which all depend from the individual needs.

D-Sight: Inspection of a wing part, composite material (CRP) shows the layer structure and a dent in the upper section (Courtesy of Diffracto Ltd.)

Laser-US: Edge of a horizontal stabilizer of a ready-to-fly CF-18 plane, CRP wing with metallic edge, in one scan (Courtesy of UltraOptec Inc. & Royal Canadian Air Force)

NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING OF COMPLEX COMPOSITE MATERIALS AND STRUCTURES USING OPTICAL TECHNIQUES (continuation)

Shearography: Inspection of a sandwich component (carbon fiber and foam) make appear delaminations at - 70 mbar (Courtesy of Dr. Ettemeyer GmbH&Co.)

Holography: observation of strain distribution on a notched aluminium probe at higher tension load (Courtesy of Dr. Ettemeyer GmbH&Co.)

Thermography: Ceramic coated specimen with artificial flaws (Courtesy of MTU-Daimler Benz Aerospace)

TSA: impact damage on woven composites produces stress concentrations (Courtesy of StressPhotonics)