Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Chu, Tsuchin

Abstract

Infrared thermography was used to evaluate Carbon Fiber Reinforced Panels (CFRP) and optimize the inspection process so that a set of guidelines can be established in order to be efficient and effective. It has been shown in previous work that when a material is heated up the heat will diffuse through the material at a constant rate. However, if there is a defect in the material, such as a delamination, this defect will act like an insulator. When this happens the heat cannot penetrate as quickly as the rest of the material so the surface above the defect shows up hotter than the rest of the material. An operator looks for inconsistent temperatures in the sample to determine the quality of the piece. Samples with simulated defects were made and modeled using a finite element program. Heat will be applied to the models and the temperature profiles analyzed. Along with changing the heat and time, different post-processing techniques were used to improve the method in determining defects in the sample. Once this has been optimized, actual CFRP with the same simulated defects was experimentally tested using the conditions from the analytical model. The analytical and experimental data was compared to insure that the testing process has been optimized. A standardized process was developed for evaluating the CFRPs using infrared thermography.

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