Preliminary investigation of near-field nondestructive testing of carbon-loaded composites using loaded open-ended waveguides

Wael Saleh, Nasser Qaddoumi, Mohammed Abu-Khousa

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25 Scopus citations


Composite materials are being utilized in a multitude of industrial and commercial applications. This is due to their desirable features such as light weight, durability and strength. This presents quite a challenge to the field of nondestructive testing and evaluation (NDT&E). Due to the material complexity associated with these materials, many techniques have been shown to be ineffective when inspecting these materials. The ability of microwaves to penetrate deeply inside such dielectric materials and composites makes microwave NDT techniques very attractive for interrogating such materials. Microwaves are also sensitive to the presence of dissimilar layers in these materials which allows for accurate thickness variation measurement in the range of a few micrometers at frequencies as low as 10 GHz. Near-field microwave inspection techniques were successfully used for detecting and locating defects and voids of different sizes and shapes in composites. For optimal detection, the standoff distance between the sensor and the composite and frequency of operation were used as optimization parameters to improve the detection capability. Carbon-loaded composites present a challenge to microwave NDT because of the lossy nature of carbon, especially at high microwave frequencies. Lower frequencies penetrate more (deeper) in carbon-loaded composites, however, the size of the waveguide sensor increases drastically at lower frequencies and consequently the resolution degrades rapidly as well. To overcome this dilemma, open-ended rectangular waveguides loaded with a dielectric material will be used to inspect carbon-loaded composites. The loading of the waveguide reduces the frequency of operation and keeps the small size of the waveguide (i.e. increases the penetration depth and maintains the resolution). Carbon-loaded composites with disbonds will be inspected and the ability of utilizing loaded rectangular waveguides for carbon-loaded composites inspection will be assessed.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)403-407
Number of pages5
JournalComposite Structures
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2003


  • Carbon-loaded composites
  • Loaded open-ended rectangular waveguides
  • Microwave nondestructive testing


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