Laser-Ultrasonic Inspection of the Composite Structure of an Aircraft in a Maintenance Hangar
Composite materials used in aerospace structures can be affected by a variety of defects, such as delaminations and disbonds, which may occur during fabrication or may be caused by impact during use. Such defects, which cannot usually be detected by simple visual inspection, may severely affect the mechanical integrity of components. Ultrasonics offers the best possibility for detection of flaws in composite components. However, ultrasonics as conventionally applied using piezoelectric transducers for generation and detection of the probing pulse has several limitations. Namely, the need for an acoustic coupling media or direct contact with the surface, and the requirement of near-normal incidence to the component’s surface. Laser-ultrasonics represents a practical means of avoiding the inherent difficulties with conventional ultrasonics [1–2].