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With more and more composite structures getting used in various industries, knowing how to inspect them for damage is an important topic. Not only are there more composite parts, but in a case such as the planes, essentially the entire body structure is made from advanced composite materials. This article will take a look at some different inspection techniques to consider when working with composites.
Non-destructive Testing (NDT)
There are varieties of methods to evaluate materials or components and non-destructive methods are an important category of them with many applications. The field of Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) or Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) involves the identification and characterization of damages on the surface and interior of materials. without cutting apart or otherwise altering the material. The basic types of NDT methods include contact and non-contact methods and both of them have their specific applications in testing and evaluating the composites. Categorized NDT methods to contact methods and non-contact methods are shown in the table below
Figure 1. Contact methods and non-contact methods in non-destructive testing (NDT) methods
Inspection type versus NDT Method
For a particular type of inspection depending on the structure, materials, or damage characteristics have been identified to work the best. (Source)
Figure 2. Inspection Types and Non-destructive Testing (NDT) Methods
A basic and useful part of the inspection of composite structures is a visual inspection. The inspector looks for visible signs of damage to the structure like burns, debonds, and delaminations. Of course. This should be the most basic type of Non-destructive Testing (NDT)
that many instances use because it can save both time and money by reducing the number of other tests, or in some cases reducing the need for other types of testing altogether. The most important advantage of visual inspection is its quick process. The other advantage of visual inspection is the relative affordability of the process. The visual inspection needs no equipment but this method has its intrinsic disadvantage.