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What are the weaknesses of Active thermal imaging in NDI of different composite materials used in aircraft structure ?

How much time and effort does it take to complete a full structure inspection with the latest portable equipment like (C-CheckIR)

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No. There is no single NDT method that can identify all types of structural faults in the aircraft.

Active thermography refers to the use of (thermal) exciters like ultrasound, (halogen and xenon) lamps, eddy current transducers and detecting the defects using that fact that the heat produced is different in those areas, usually using infrared cameras.

Though this is a very effective method for detecting defects, especially in composites, there are some disadvantages as well.

  • The test specimen has to be 'hooked up' to some form of (thermal) loading device. This limits the size of the tested part.

  • This is an excellent method for detecting subsurface defects; however, as the depth of the defect increases, the defect size has to be larger for detection.

  • The method requires that the temperature of the region (containing the defect) be uniform. This is a problem especially for materials with high thermal diffusivity like metals, which may require high speed IR cameras.

  • Though automated algorithms are available for defect detection, most of the (older) methods of thermography depend on the operator for interpretation of results.

  • The type of excitation technique used can be limited in some cases to prevent damage to the tested part.

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  • $\begingroup$ So I infer from your statements that the answer is no? ;-) $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Oct 29 '15 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger Sadly, yes. After all, there is no magic bullet for solving all problems. $\endgroup$ – aeroalias Oct 29 '15 at 15:22
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I was just trying to point out that you don't explicitly answer the question that was asked (especially the title). You may want to edit slightly just to be clear at the beginning, before going into the why's. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Oct 29 '15 at 17:36

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