Characterisation of Damaged Tubular Composites by Acoustic Emission, Thermal Diffusivity Mapping and TSR-RGB Projection Technique
An increase in the use of composite materials, owing to improved design and fabrication processes, has led to cost reductions in many industries. Resistance to corrosion, high specific strength, and stiffness are just a few of their many attractive properties. However,
damage tolerance remains a major concern in the implementation of composites and uncertainty regarding component lifetimes can lead to over-design and under-use of such materials.
A combination of non-destructive evaluation (NDE) and structural health monitoring (SHM) have shown promise in improving confidence by enabling data collection in-situ and in real time. In this work, infrared thermography (IRT) is employed for NDE of tubular composite specimens before and after impact. Four samples are impacted with energies of 5 J, 7.5 J, and 10 J by an un-instrumented falling weight set-up. Acoustic emissions (AE) are monitored using bonded piezoelectric sensors during one of the four impact tests. IRT data is used to generate diffusivity and thermal depth mappings of each sample using the thermographic signal reconstruction (TSR) red green blue (RGB) projection technique. Analysis of AE data alone for a 10 J impact suggest significant damage to the fibres and matrix; this is in good agreement with the generated thermal depth mappings for each sample, which indicate damage through multiple fibre layers. IRT and AE data are correlated and validated by optical micrographs taken along the cross section of damage.