Comparison of X-ray, Millimeter Wave, Shearography and Through-Transmission Ultrasonic Methods for Inspection of Honeycomb Composites
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Honeycomb composites are increasingly finding utility in a variety of environments and applications, such as aircraft structural components, flight control components, radomes, etc. In-service and environmental stresses can produce unwanted flaws that adversely affect the structural integrity and functionality of these composites. These flaws may be in the forms of disbonds, delaminations, impact damage, crushed honeycomb, moisture intrusion, internal cracks, etc. There are several nondestructive testing (NDT) methods that may be used to inspect these composites for the presence and evaluation of these flaws. Such NDT methods include X-ray computed tomography, near-field millimeter wave, shearography, and ultrasonic testing. To assess the capabilities of these methods for honeycomb composite inspection, two honeycomb composites panels were produced with several embedded flaws and missing material primarily representing planar disbonds at various levels within the thickness of the panels and with different shapes. Subsequently, the aforementioned NDT methods were used to produce images of the two panels. This paper presents the results of these investigations and a comparison among the capabilities of these methods.