NDE of Aged CFRP Panels Using Infrared Thermography

The use of composite materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) is highly suited for the aerospace industry. As such, it is of great importance to reliably evaluate defects that can lead to the failure of a structure. However, the failure of such structures is not always immediate; failure may not occur until the damage is compounded by environmental effects incurred as the structure is aged. This research made use of infrared thermography (IRT) for the nondestructive evaluation (NDE) of CFRP panels with embedded defects. The CFRP panels studied include samples with foreign object inclusion (FOI) defects at varying depths within the panel and impact damage defects created with different impact energies. The CFRP panels with embedded defects were inspected using IRT both before and after the samples were exposed to an artificial aging process. Evaluation of the results demonstrates that various differences form in the defect region of the CFRP samples depending on the defect type, defect extent, and aging method.

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