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Autonomous systems thermographic NDT of composite structures

Deane, S., Avdelidis, N. P., Ibarra-Castanedo, C. , Yazdani Nezhad, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-0832-3579, Williamson, A., Zhang, H., Tzitzilonis, V., Maldague, X. P. V. & Tsourdos, A. (2019). Autonomous systems thermographic NDT of composite structures. Proceedings of SPIE 11004, Thermosense: Thermal Infrared Applications XLI, 11004, 110041. doi: 10.1117/12.2517426


Transient thermography is a method used successfully in the evaluation of composite materials and aerospace structures. It has the capacity to deliver both qualitative and quantitative results about hidden defects or features in a composite structure. Aircraft must undergo routine maintenance – inspection to check for any critical damage and thus to ensure its safety. This work aims to address the challenge of NDT automated inspection and improve the defects’ detection by suggesting an autonomous thermographic imaging approach using a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) active thermographic system. The concept of active thermography is discussed and presented in the inspection of aircraft CFRP panels along with the mission planning for aerial inspection using the UAV for real time inspection. Results indicate that the suggested approach could significantly reduce the inspection time, cost, and workload, whilst potentially increase the probability of detection of defects on aircraft composites.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright 2019. Society of Photo‑Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this publication for a fee or for commercial purposes, and modification of the contents of the publication are prohibited.
Publisher Keywords: Thermography; composites; CFRP; UAS; imaging; aerospace
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
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