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Proceedings Paper

Imaging of flaws in composite honeycomb aircraft structures using instrumented tap test
Author(s): David K. Hsu; John J. Peters; Dong Fei; Daniel J. Barnard; Vinay Dayal
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Paper Abstract

This paper describes the development of an instrumented tap test and imaging system for the inspection of defects and damages in composite aircraft structures, especially honeycomb sandwich constructions. The resulting tap test images based on the impact duration and displayed in a C- scan format can readily reveal the shape and extent of honeycomb core damages. The images also reveal considerable detail of internal substructures such as core splices, ply build-up, and changes of foam core density. Based on a grounded-spring mechanical model, the tap scan images can be converted into images that show the quantitative changes of the local stiffness. A manual tap scan imaging system was assembled for laboratory experiments. Using actual composites parts for airplanes, impact damages and substructures were imaged. In addition, effects of the tapper mass, impactor radius, tap velocity and operator dependence were studied. A compact fieldable system is being built and an automated tapping and imaging system is also under development. The technique was compared to other similar devices currently available.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 February 1999
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3585, Nondestructive Evaluation of Aging Materials and Composites III, (8 February 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.339854
Show Author Affiliations
David K. Hsu, Iowa State Univ. (United States)
John J. Peters, Iowa State Univ. (United States)
Dong Fei, Iowa State Univ. (United States)
Daniel J. Barnard, Iowa State Univ. (United States)
Vinay Dayal, Iowa State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3585:
Nondestructive Evaluation of Aging Materials and Composites III
George Y. Baaklini; Carol A. Nove; Eric S. Boltz, Editor(s)

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