Non-destructive inspection (NDI) is crucial to the aerospace industry, and laser shearography is a form of NDI that is perfect for quality control applications. Laser shearography can detect defects fast and accurately on the composites and metallic materials used in aircraft manufacturing.
Aerospace Inspections Performed with Laser Shearography
Laser shearography is an optical measurement technique that delivers fast defect detection. An interferometric comparison of an aircraft component is performed in both a neutral and loaded state. Software algorithms analyze images in real-time and detect out-of-plane deformations between the neutral and loaded states.
Stressing or excitation of an aircraft component surface is necessary for the laser shearography process. The technique works for a wide range of aerospace applications that include both manufacturing facilities and in-field inspection. Heat excitation is widely used because of its speed and ease-of-implementation. Other forms like vacuum excitation and vibration excitation have their specialized uses.
The inspection method is perfect for large, complex components. And it’s capable of detecting a wide range of defects, including wrinkles, cracks, and delamination. Laser shearography can also find defects like kissing bonds, cracked cores, and voids in hard-to-reach places. The non-destructive inspection method is also used in the automotive, wind power, textile, and marine industries.
Benefits of Laser Shearography
Speed is a key advantage of laser shearography. A shearography system can be set up in seconds and tests 20 sq. ft. in less than 30 seconds with real-time results. The system can be integrated with robotic automation, for improved efficiency. Cost savings are also realized with laser shearography, which requires a low initial investment and boasts lower operating costs.
Laser shearography also offers quality results. The method has a very high probability of defect detection. It rarely reports a defect when there isn’t one present. And the results are easily reproducible for verification of defects. Automated systems can perform tests in successes with very high repeatability and leads to easily generated customizable reports.
Standards organizations have published laser shearography standards. Thanks to these standardization measures, manufacturers can count on the same results across the industry.
Certified shearography training is also available to ensure that operators know best practices for performing tests, cutting down on human error. User-friendly visual applications also help operators make the right determination.
Harsh industrial manufacturing facilities do not affect laser shearography results thanks to robust and rugged equipment. Laser shearography systems are compact and portable, making it easy to perform tests on large components that can’t easily be moved within a production facility.
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