- Non-destructive testing is a methodology to inspect production and operational parts for potential flaws, defects, or damages. The present work is based on pulsed wave thermography, a thermal imaging method based on heat conduction to identify surface and subsurface defects potentially present in a component. Pulsed wave thermography applies a fast pulse of heat energy on the specimen’s surface while heat conduction through the material is recorded through an infrared camera. Test procedures are established with the objective of comparing system performance between homogeneous and fiber reinforced polymers. Preliminary tests on aluminum alloy have shown reliable defect detection using profile graphs with noisy data due to high metal heat conductivity. Tests on fiber reinforced polymer samples confirmed pulsed wave thermography can detect defects within carbon composites, however only surface level data can be detected in fiberglass and sandwich panels applying the basic level analysis as performed in the current work. Advanced data processing for better performance on a wider range of composites will be applied in the continuation of the research. An educational laboratory procedure for teaching the basic operation of the system in an undergraduate and graduate class environment has been developed.
- Key Words: Non-destructive testing, thermography, composite, non-homogenous, homogenous, fiber reinforced polymers.