The preferred NDT technology for complex composites inspection is phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT). A combination of dedicated probe configurations, a high-performance PAUT system, and advanced software that includes specific tools and algorithms is necessary for fast and reliable inspections. Standard phased array UT inspection requires precise alignment between the probe and the specimen. In the case of complex geometries, this typically involves comprehensive and therefore expensive systems, and precise knowledge of the specimen geometry. Recently, the Time Reversal technique —a real-time adaptive process— has been implemented for rapid and reliable phased array UT inspections on these complex geometries.
Here's the problem
Composite structures are being used more and more in aircraft. This includes the fuselage and different parts of the wings, the skin, stringers, and spars. All these components have different shapes, most of which are complex geometries. Therefore, the examination method must be adaptable to these challenging conditions.
The manufacturing process of composite materials can create different types of defects. Inspection after manufacturing must be able to detect porosities, foreign bodies, and delamination present in the CFRP structures (Figure 2). Another challenging aspect of the examination of aerospace components is inspection speed. The large manufacturing volumes demand high inspection speed in order to reduce cost.
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