Non Destructive Testing for Composites (Technical Insights) Detecting Flaws and Enabling Composite-Intensive ApplicationsD4C8-TIDEC 2012
Key Findings Market Overview Regulations Growing Safety The use of composites in several application sectors is Application Concerns increasing gradually owing to their advantageous features as Needs compared to the standard materials. However, composites are Technical susceptible to flaws and damages. The flaws adversely affect the Progress material and degrade the in-service performance of the composite structure. Growing Miniaturization Awareness Non-destructive testing methods detect the flaws and assess the material’s integrity. There are several factors that influence the composite-focused NDT industry.Driving Key driving factors of the market include stringent regulations,Factors safety concerns, growing use of composites in various application Market sectors and growing awareness about the benefits of NDT. These Dynamics factors are accelerating the growth of NDT for composites. Along with these market drivers, technological advances and Challenging miniaturization of hardware are allowing the manufacturers to Factors introduce advanced, compact, and portable devices for on the spot, in-service inspection as opposed to laboratory-based testing. Composite Lack of However, there are significant challenges which have restrained Structure Standardization the growth of the composite-focused NDT industry. The structural Complexity Lack of complexity of composites makes it difficult for the conventional Trained NDT techniques to detect defects effectively. Operators Another key challenge hindering growth in the NDT composites market is the lack of trained operators. Emerging and innovative Limitations Reluctance technologies are not being adopted and developed due to the of to adopt new conservative end users and also due to lack of standards. Limited technologies techniques Furthermore, greater user awareness about the technologies is Awareness required in order to foster the growth of NDT.D4C8-TI 2
Key Findings (continued) Key Technologies NDT technologies are of significant importance as they can save time and money by evaluating the condition of composite materials and Ultrasonic Radiography detecting damages in the materials. Currently, there are several NDT Inspection techniques available to assess the quality and integrity of the composite materials and the key technologies are ultrasonic inspection, radiography, thermography, and shearography. Amongst several types of ultrasonic methods, phased array technology, ultrasound imaging technique, and the laser ultrasonic Key Technologies technique are the most promising ones for the detection of various kinds of defects. Faster inspection speed and reliable defect imaging capability are the key reasons for wider adoption of ultrasonic inspection. Rapid advancements in technology and integration of robotics and motion Shearography Thermography control with ultrasonic testing devices have been aiding the growth of ultrasonic testing devices. GE Inspection Technologies, Olympus NDT, Sonatest Ltd., Technology Design Ltd., Sonotec, iPhoton Solutions, Tecnar Automation, Imperium Inc., Santec Systems, Inc., and DolphiTech are significant market players in ultrasonic inspection domain.D4C8-TI 3
Key Findings (continued) Key Technologies (continued) The radiography technique has experienced consistent development over the past few decades. NDT device manufacturers and technology developers are moving toward digital radiography. Real-time test results Ultrasonic Radiography Inspection along with enhanced quality images are being offered by the digital radiography technique. GE Inspection Technologies, YXLON International X-Ray GmbH, Vidisco Ltd., Carestream, X-ray Industries are some of the key market participants in this technique. Thermography offers live images of defects and requires only one-sided Key access to the test specimen. These features are facilitating faster growth Technologies of this technology in various application sectors, especially in the aerospace industry. Some of the market participants in this technology domain are Thermal Wave Imaging Inc., Xenics, AT-Automation Technology, Fluke Thermography, Physical Acoustics, FLIR System. Shearography has proved its capability of faster and reliable inspection Shearography Thermography and has recently entered the industrial application sectors. The high- coverage rate of this technique allows to quickly scan larger structures. However, this technology cost is moderately high and user awareness is limited. Shearography products from Steinbichler Optoechnik GmbH, Dantec Dynamics GmbH., Laser technology, Optonor A/S are being used up for composite inspection.D4C8-TI 4
Key Findings (continued) Key Trends Automated Tools The key trends in the composite-focused NDT industry include the use of automated and advanced NDT devices, which can be operated Mobile and Portable Inspection Systems without certified operators. As lack of trained operators is a key challenge, end users are looking for easily operable devices and test settings that would not require high degrees of knowledge. iPlus System from iPhoton Solutions LLC, C-Check IR from AT-Automation Real-Time Inspection Technology are examples of automated systems. Mobile and portables devices such as ISIS mobile system from Steinbichler Optotechnik, Phasor XS from GE Inspections can easily be can be deployed easily in the field for in-service inspection. Image-Based inspection Real-time and image-based inspections are also gaining importance. Market Trends Image-based test results are easy to interpret and the real-time availability of results allows the end user to make decisions on the spot and thus saves inspection time considerably. Acoustocam from Digitization Imperium Inc., DolphiScanner from Dolphitech are few such examples of real-time, image based solutions. Digital technology based NDT methods are being highly adopted by the Advanced Software end users owing to the ease of use and improved speed and efficiency of the system. Advanced software is making it easier to interpret the test results by offering comprehensible data images or image-based presentation. Non-Contact Inspection The non-contact nature of inspection ensures the protection of the surface from the contacting medium, which is applied over it as in the case of conventional NDT techniques.D4C8-TI 5
Industry Overview Overview Non-destructive testing is performed on a structure or material to find internal or surface flaws and evaluate the integrity of that component. The techniques used for testing are essentially non-destructive, that is, they can perform the evaluation task without disassembling the whole structure or causing any harm to it. In recent years, composite materials are increasingly being used across various industrial and engineering applications. The composite-focused applications also need inspections to ensure that they maintain their integrity. Classical NDT techniques that are used for standard materials, are being used for testing these new composites materials. Significance Composite materials have vast commercial opportunities as they are lightweight and durable and have excellent fatigue endurance, stiffness, and corrosion resistance. Armed with such a wide range of advantages, composites are set to play a key role in various application sectors. This increased use of composites has raised the demand for quality inspection and this demand has resulted in a growing scope for NDT technologies. NDT is the enabling technology for composites and it is an indispensable tool for detecting the presence of internal irregularities in the composite material without affecting its physical integrity and subsequent service. Impact With the increased use of composites, especially in aircraft structures and wind turbine blades, more composite-focused NDT techniques are expected to be developed. Most of the NDT methods are already being used for conventional materials, such as steel or concrete structures. For inspecting composites, these NDT techniques are being modified. Mostly, incremental improvements of the traditional NDT techniques are being implemented.D4C8-TI 6
Overview of Key NDT Techniques for Composites There are several NDT techniques for composite inspection. Among them the four key technologies that are commonly used are discussed here. Ultrasonic testing is the most widely used technique in NDT for composites. Short pulses of ultrasound are passed into the composite material and detected after having interrogated the structure. Ultrasonic testing is sensitive to both surface and subsurface discontinuities and can detect Ultrasonic Inspection the depth of the defect as well. There are several types of ultrasonic methods, such as C-scan, acoustography, laser ultrasonic, spectroscopy and so on. Ultrasonic methods are most widely used for composite inspection purposes. Thermographic methods are those in which the presence of flaws is determined by monitoring the flow of heat over the surface of a structure after some external introduction of a temperature gradient. Thermography Thermography can often be used in composite applications where radiography and ultrasonic inspection produces results that are difficult to interpret. This method is gaining increasing attention as it enables faster inspection and easy accessibility. Shearography has a wide variety of applications in composites inspection, especially in aerospace structures. Type of defects detected by shearography are cracks, inclusions, and impact damage. Shearography With the development of the video camera and relatively cheap and fast microprocessor technology, digital shearography is emerging as a viable NDT method for composite inspection. It allows real-time viewing and analysis of flaws without the expensive and time-consuming processes related to the development of films. A high degree of sensitivity is offered by this non-contact inspection technique. In radiography, X-ray beams are passed through the inspected part of the composite material and an image of that part is captured on the opposite side. Radiography produces better resolution images than transmission ultrasonic testing as the wavelength is considerably shorter for X-rays. But the Radiography major limitation of X-rays is that they cannot detect delamination without a penetrant. Such an inspection of liquid-sensitive components is not non-destructive.D4C8-TI 7
Key Drivers End-user Applications Creating Government Growth Opportunities Regulations Safety concerns Technical progress enabling significant quantitative capability Industry Drivers Miniaturization facilitating Extending the useful life portability of aging infrastructure Note: Length of the arrow does not indicate the strength or the impact of the driver .D4C8-TI 8
Key Challenges Composite structure complexity Lack of trained operators Lack of standardization Limitations of techniques Industry Challenges Limited awareness Reluctance to adopt new technologies Note: Length of the arrow does not indicate the strength or impact of the challenge. Source: Frost & SullivanD4C8-TI 9
Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP)-Based Technology Benchmarking Evaluation of Technology for Composite Aerospace Structures ( 5 to 7 Years timeline) Level 0 Criteria Level 1 Criteria Alternatives Research Status Technology Maturity Applied Development Status (Product Availability) Ultrasonic Inspection Technical Features Tech Capability Reliability Digital Radiography Ease of Use Accessibility Application Requirement Thermography Operator Safety Cost Standardization Efforts Shearography Industry initiatives User Awareness Source: Frost & SullivanD4C8-TI 10
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