Thermographic NDT for Through-Life Inspection of High Value Components
Non-destructive testing (NDT) are techniques used to detect and characterise flaws that occur in materials from manufacture through to evaluating the health of the material without causing further damage to the component. With the development of cutting-edge technology over the last two decades, active thermographic NDT has grown considerably as a field. Access to lower cost, more portable hardware with higher performance has fuelled a major drive in research to develop analytical techniques and widen the applicability of thermography in order to exploit its advantages as a low-cost and non-contact inspection technique. While passive thermography is a heavily standardised process, active thermography is considerably lacking in industrial standards. Development of these standards represents an opportunity for research in the field of active thermography to be a part of that process. Recent industry pressure regarding research in NDT has developed a demand for NDT techniques to be quantifiable, and linked directly to material properties, thus allowing an estimation of remaining useful life (RUL) in order to maximise product value. There have been significant research developments in the field over recent years. Through developments in signal processing of thermography data, inspections would enable repeatable, quantifiable benchmarking of samples, which would allow automation of carefully controlled quality checks; and the measurement of thermal properties of the material, which would allow estimation of components’ RUL. Addressing these challenges would increase the deployment of thermography in industry, enhance the toolset of through-life engineering, and significantly improve the competitiveness of industries which embrace these developments.
KeywordsPulsed thermography Non-destructive testing In-service damage Automated NDT
The authors would like to thank Professor Peter Foote from Cranfield University for providing the CFRP specimens. This work was supported by the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services (Grant number EP/I033246/1).
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