Date of Award
Master of Science
In this research, Acoustography Nondestructive Evaluation method was investigated for inspecting “tight radii” in carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) components. Ultrasonic inspection of tight radii is challenging because of refraction and/or mode conversion of ultrasound waves at the entry and exiting surfaces of the tight radii. Snell’s law was used to first study the refraction and/or mode conversion behavior of the ultrasound beam at the entry and exiting surfaces of a CFRP panel; to help establish the angular range over which ultrasound is transmitted through CFRP material. Snell’s law data was then used as a guide for setting up the Acoustography system and part orientation to optimize inspection of several real-world CFRP components containing tight radii. CFRP tight-radii specimens were prepared by strategically placing markers around the tight radius of each specimen to ensure full coverage of the tight radius region. Acoustography inspection was first performed with a straight beam to establish limitation of the straight beam in detecting markers in the tight-radii region, as predicted by Snell’s law. Acoustography inspection was then performed using a multi-angle beam (+/- 12.5o) to improve detection of markers in the tight-radii region. Results confirmed that straight beam (flat transducer) could not penetrate the sample at the start of the tight radius because of refraction or mode conversion effects. However, the use of multi-angle beam (multi-angle transducer) greatly improved the penetration through the tight radius because some of beam angles were within the ultrasound transmission range for the tight radii. Experiments were also performed by changing orientation of the CFRP sample under the multi-angle or straight beam. Sample orientation was changed at five-degree increments so that optimum conditions for the tight-radii inspection could be determined. This research provides a basis on which further improvements can be made to advance the Acoustography NDE method for the inspection of tight radii in CFRP components.
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