Inspection of thick composites: a comparative study between microwaves, X-ray computed tomography and ultrasonic testing

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    Abstract

    Inspection of thick and low-density multilayer composite structures is of paramount importance. X-ray computed tomography (CT) and phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) are widely employed modalities for non-destructive testing (NDT) of these composites. Owing to low density of constituent materials typically utilised to construct composites and rich wave scattering within their structures, inspecting them using X-ray CT and PAUT does not always yield acceptable flaw detection results. On the other hand, microwave NDT techniques have shown to be particularly suitable for inspecting thick multilayer non-carbon-based composites. However, the relative performance of emerging microwave NDT techniques and the widely accepted X-ray CT and PAUT is yet to be established. This paper provides first-of-its-kind experimental comparison between microwave, X-ray CT, and PAUT on a comprehensive set of thick composite samples with different defect types. It is demonstrated herein that microwave NDT performed on par with X-ray CT in terms of defect detection capability (qualitatively and quantitatively), and in many cases outperformed PAUT. A detailed summary overviewing the performance, advantages and shortcomings of each method for particualr defect types is included which disseminates new knowledge to benefit practitioners and researchers alike.

    Original languageBritish English
    JournalNondestructive Testing and Evaluation
    DOIs
    StateAccepted/In press - 2023

    Keywords

    • Composites
    • microwave imaging
    • non-destructive testing
    • phased array ultrasonic testing
    • synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
    • X-ray computed tomography

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