, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 135-146

Fiber optic sensing for ultrasonic NDE

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An innovative approach to nondestructive evaluation (NDE) using noncontacting optical sensors has demonstrated. In this effort a single mode optical fiber interferometer (OFI) was used to sense the presence and form of Rayleigh waves traveling along the surface of a steel test bar at a velocity of nearly 3mm/µs. Acousto-optic time-domain data was successfully used to detect the presence and locate the position of a test “flaw” (a machined slot) in the bar, and spectrum analysis was used to estimate its geometry and size. This approach has many potential applications in the ultrasonic evaluation of real flaws in structures with complex geometries. Coupled with the authors' earlier work demonstrating the feasibility of generating acoustic waves in metals using laser light pulses transmitted through the fiber optic probes, this latest achievement points to the development of a fully noncontacting, fiber optic based thermal-acousto-photonic (TAP) NDE system, with potential applications to the reliability testing of many important structures where composition, scale, geometry, or restricted access preclude the use of conventional NDE techniques.