Analysis Techniques for Volumetric Computed Tomography Inspection of Turbine Airfoils

Computed tomography (CT) has been a valuable NDT method for decades. Because of its long cycle times for data acquisition and analysis, traditionally it has not seen widespread use in manufacturing environments. It is used in the aerospace industry in a single slice mode to evaluate the severity of indications seen with other NDT methods such as radiography or ultrasound. It has been applied with multiple CT images to critical or hard-to-inspect areas of components as part of standard production flow when other more cost effective methods do not meet the inspection requirements. Computed tomography has seen wide use, however, as part of new product development and root cause investigations by collecting CT slices for the entire volume of components. Recent advancements in CT data acquisition technology have moved from the use of linear x-ray detectors to area x-ray detectors that can collect CT data from a component in a single acquisition. The use of area x-ray detectors to collect CT data is often referred to as volumetric CT (VCT) and has reduced data acquisition times for an entire component from hours to minutes. This paper describes a method for rapidly analyzing VCT inspection data and the application of that method to the inspection of turbine airfoils.

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