Nondestructive Evaluation of Complex Composites Using Advanced Computed Tomography (CT) Imaging

Report No. ARL-TR-2400
Authors: William H. Green and Patrick Sincebaugh
Date/Pages: February 2001; 29 pages
Abstract: Several methods for nondestructive inspection/nondestructive testing (NDI/NDT) of materials have been known and in use for many years. These methods have included dimensional checks for compliance with specifications, visual inspection for surface defects, various penetrant inspection techniques for small discontinuities that originate at or intersect the surface, and magnetic inspection techniques for small discontinuities that are located at or near the surface. X-ray and various ultrasonic inspection techniques have been used to detect internal defects that do not intersect the surface. However, conventional x-ray radiography suffers from the loss of three-dimensional (3-D) information, since a film radiograph or a fluoroscopic image is a shadowgraph. Ultrasonic inspection techniques suffer from the fact that composite materials contain many signal dispersing interfaces. This makes inspection scan interpretation difficult, especially in complex composites which can contain polymer, ceramic, and metal materials. This report discusses past and current applications of computed tomography (CT) imaging for inspection of composite structures. Several examples of advanced CT inspection of complex composite structures are also presented and discussed.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: February 1, 2001