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A Dissection and Enhancement Technique for Combined Damage Characterisation in Composite Laminates using Laser-line Scanning Thermography

Liu, H., Du, W., Yazdani Nezhad, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-0832-3579 , Starr, A. & Zhao, Y. (2021). A Dissection and Enhancement Technique for Combined Damage Characterisation in Composite Laminates using Laser-line Scanning Thermography. Composite Structures, 271, 114168. doi: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2021.114168


Impact induced combined damage in composite laminates attracts great attention due to its significant degradation of the structural integrity. However, the provision of the quantitative analysis of each damage portion is challenging due to its bare visibility and structural mixture complexity, so-called barely visible impact damage (BVID), which is referred to as inter-laminar delamination, and is inherently coupled with in-plane transverse and matrix damage also known as combined damage. Instead of focusing on one type of damage in most of the existing studies, this paper proposes a decomposition and targeted enhancement technique based on Stationary Wavelet Transform (SWT) for such coupled BVID in composite laminates using laser-line scanning thermography. Firstly, a combined damage model composed of in-plane damage and inter-laminar delamination is established by finite element numerical modelling to predict the thermal response pattern in the laser scanning thermography. Then, a feature separation and targeted enhancement strategy based on SWT in the frequency domain is proposed to improve the contrast of the matrix crack and delamination in combined damage scenarios induced by low-velocity rigid impact via drop-tower tests, meanwhile eliminating noise and suppressing the laser pattern background. The enhanced images of in-plane damage and delamination are furtherly processed by Random Sample Consensus (RANSAC) method and confidence map algorithms to calibrate the damage profile. The proposed technique is validated through inspecting a group of unidirectional carbon fibre-reinforced polymer composite samples, impacted by a variety of energy levels, in fibre-parallel (0°), 45° and orthogonal scanning modes. The results demonstrate that the proposed technique can pertinently isolate, enhance and characterise the inspected in-plane crack and inter-laminates delamination in a flexible manner. The proposed methodology paves the way towards automated infrared thermography data analysis for quantitative dissection of actual combined damage in composite laminates.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license ( © 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This article has been published online in Composite Structures, DOI: .
Publisher Keywords: Impact combined damage; Inter-laminar delamination; Laser scanning thermography; Damage quantitative dissection; Stationary wavelet enhancement;
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
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