Thick glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) composites, e.g. thickness of more than 50 mm, are increasingly used in a wide variety of industries, particularly in the marine and wind energy sectors. Defect detection and characterisation in these composites remain appealing challenges due to the material complexity and the presence of various manufacturing and in-service defects. In this study, we propose a novel shearography method with controlled surface temperature (CST) heating for deep defect detection (i.e., 15 mm depth and more) in thick GFRP laminates. The proposed CST heating has been developed based on analytical solutions to control the maximum surface temperature of a test object during shearography inspection. Numerical and experimental studies have been performed to analyse the defect behaviour and defect detection under various heating scenarios, a topic which is rarely reported for thick composites with shearography. Compared with conventional shearography, the CST shearography method maximises heating energy input with a controlled and stable maximum surface temperature for deep defect detection. Results indicate an enhancement of about 27% in defect signal for the defect at 15 mm depth in comparison to conventional heating. The results also provide insight for implementing an efficient inspection in terms of the inspection duration and the number of datasets. This study makes a step towards safe, quantitative and predictable inspection of deep defects in thick composites.
- Controlled surface temperature heating
- Deep defect detection
- Thick composites