Thickness Measurement of Fiber and Glass Reinforced Material Systems

In industry today there are many chemical processes where fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) and glass reinforced plastic (GRP) material systems, such as fiberglass, are used due to their strong resistance to corrosion. Currently, there is no established method to evaluate the integrity of the FRP/GRP while the equipment is in-service. This is because traditional methods of measuring remaining wall thickness of process equipment, such as ultrasonic, do not readily work with composite products such as GRP particularly while the vessel or piping is filled with liquid. This paper presents a novel microwave NDE method capable of determining the absolute measurement in the remaining wall thickness of fiberglass components commonly used in industry. The inspections can be conducted with the equipment in-service, thus saving time and aiding with turnaround planning. The method takes advantage of known characteristics of structural FRP/GRP material and combines it with known characteristics of the microwave transceiver. The result is a field deployable method that can measure the remaining wall of a fiberglass part with a high degree of accuracy.

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