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Computed Tomography and 3D Rendering of Composite Materials

Computed tomography inspection is being implemented at Sandia National Laboratories to characterize porosity in solid laminate Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRC) materials and verify ply-to-ply differences in composite honeycomb materials. The focus of this paper is the use of three dimensional post processing techniques to create a porosity roadmap within solid laminate material and locate simulated defects within a Nomex™ honeycomb structure sandwiched between carbon graphite laminate weave skins. Computed tomography (CT) is the optimal technique to detect cell wall crushing within honeycomb structure and document the size of manufacturing defects. The data analysis techniques employed can successfully characterize porosity levels in solid laminates and evaluate ply-to-ply layers of the honeycomb lay-up. A review of current equipment capabilities, manufacturing processing steps and deployment challenges encountered while scanning composite materials will also be addressed.

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