Portable Optical Module for Fatigue Damage Precursor Detection
Agency / Branch:
DOD / ARMY
We have outlined a concept for a laser-based sensor for the aerospace components inspection for creep or fatigue damage. The sensor detects precursors to crack formation occurring as early as the first 10% of fatigue life and therefore can be used toidentify accumulated fatigue damage prior to crack initiation. In addition, the same method can easily detect the presence of micro-cracks that occur late in fatigue life and alert the user of imminent failure. In this proposal, we show experimental datathat supports our precursor detection concept, and present preliminary designs for a compact, hand-held instrument. During Phase I we will demonstrate feasibility of the technique by constructing an optical measurement breadboard, measuring productionaerospace components under fatigue loading, and correlate the results with measurements from electron microscopy techniques. In addition, we will investigate the use of infrared wavelengths to interrogate painted surfaces. The results of the Phase I studywill permit detailed design of a prototype instrument and estimates of its performance envelope. In Phase II, the prototype system will be built and field-tested.Since over 90% of mechanical failures are due to fatigue damage, the proposed sensor will beuseful in many industries employing dynamically loaded mechanical systems. Of particular significance are the commercial and military aircraft industries, where the instrument could be employed to quickly verify the safety condition of most criticalcomponents, such as turbine blades, fuselage panels, and landing gear. In addition, many other industries can benefit from this diagnostic tool including automotive, power generation, railroad, etc.
Small Business Information at Submission:
18010 Skypark Circle Irvine, CA 92614
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