Inspection of CFRP Compounds and Components
The GEWOL Research Project
Fibre-reinforced plastics, such as CFRP and GRP, offer numerous advantages for lightweight design of aircraft and automobiles. But the economic, flexible and automated production of these materials in large volumes has been delayed by the lack of suitable processing, inspection and measurement procedures. Laser technology promises help here. InfraTec worked together with Audi and six additional partners from science and industry to optimise the possibilities to use local laser energy application, customised for the respective production requirements, for processing temperature-sensitive materials.
In the GEWOL project, InfraTec participated concretely on further development of laser-excited thermography. This can be used to inspect the adhesive joints of CFRP and GRP components. The same applies for compounds of plastic materials with steel or aluminium. Until now, this has typically been done using ultrasonic procedures or classical flash thermography.
Laser-excited thermography proved to be a very effective method of component inspection. The excitation intensity was distributed far more homogeneously. At the same time, excitation could be applied onto a larger surface, which saved valuable time in every inspection procedure. In addition to area excitation, this procedure easily permitted linear excitation, which provided additional advantages when working with varying geometries of inspection objects. Due to its detector format of (1,920 × 1,536) IR pixels, the infrared camera developed in the project, ImageIR® 10300, is able to capture the smallest geometrical details.