System and method for inspecting composite structures using a laser ultrasonic inspection system

System and method for inspecting composite structures using a laser ultrasonic inspection system

  • CN 103,792,191 B
  • Filed: 10/29/2013
  • Issued: 01/08/2021
  • Est. Priority Date: 10/30/2012
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A system in an inspection environment selected from the group consisting of a factory and an assembly line, the system comprising:

  • a laser generation system configured to generate a pulsed laser beam from a laser having a plurality of characteristics, wherein the plurality of characteristics includes at least a laser spot size less than about 1 millimeter, a single pulse optical energy density between about 0.1 millijoules per square centimeter and about 1000 millijoules per square centimeter, and a pulse repetition rate between about 10000 hertz and about 500000 hertz;

    a delivery system configured to direct the pulsed laser beam generated by the laser generation system toward a composite structure comprised of a plurality of composite materials, wherein when the pulsed laser beam contacts the composite structure, a plurality of ultrasonic waves are formed in the composite structure without causing any undesirable incompatibility in the composite structure outside of a selected tolerance, wherein at least a portion of the energy in the pulsed laser beam is absorbed into a reinforcement material in the plurality of composite materials, but not a matrix material in the plurality of composite materials, and the reinforcement material has a higher modulus than the matrix material; and

    a movement system configured to control movement of the transport system and the pulsed laser beam in the detection environment and move the laser over the composite structure.

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