Eddy current thermography uses an induction coil to induce eddy currents in conductive materials. The involved resistive losses heat the sample. By modulation of the eddy current amplitude, thermal waves are generated which interact with boundaries thereby revealing defects. Conventional eddy current testing has only a limited depth range due to the skin effect of metal samples. In Induction-Lockin-Thermography (ILT) the depth range is extended by the thermal penetration depth. An infrared camera monitors the modulation of the temperature field on the surface as a response to the coded excitation thereby allowing for fast imaging of defects in larger areas without the need of slow point-by-point mapping. This response is decoded by a Fourier analysis at the modulation frequency. So the extracted information is displayed by just two images where one displays local amplitude and the other local phase. ILT has significant advantages as compared to inductive heating with visual inspection of the thermographic sequence: Phase angle images are independent of most artifacts like reflections, variation in emission coefficient, or inhomogeneous heating. Due to the performed Fourier analysis of the temperature image sequence, the signal-to-noise ratio in the amplitude and phase images is significantly better than in single temperature images of the sequence. Induction heating is confined to conductive materials. However, it is applicable not only to metals but also to carbon fiber reinforced laminates (CFRP) or carbon fiber reinforced ceramics (C/C-SiC). The presented examples for applications of ILT illustrate the potential and limitations of this new non-destructive inspection method.
Ultrasound activated Lockin-Thermography ("ultrasound attenuation mapping") is a defect selective NDT-technique. Its main advantage is a high probability of defect detection ("POD") since only defects produce a signal while all other features are suppressed. The mechanism involved is local sound absorption which turns a variably loaded defect into a heat source. Thermographic monitoring of elastic wave attenuation in defects was reported for the first time in 1979 by Henneke and colleagues for continuous and pulsed ultrasound injection. Later, amplitude modulated ultrasound was used to derive frequency coded phase angle images combining defect-selectivity with robustness of measurement. With mono-frequent ultrasound excitation a standing wave pattern might hide defects. With additional modulation of the ultrasound frequency such a misleading pattern can be minimized. Applications related to quality maintenance (aerospace, automotive industry) will be presented in order to illustrate the potential of frequency modulated ultrasound excitation and its applications.
Ultrasound excited thermography allows for defect selective imaging using thermal waves that are generated by elastic waves. The mechanism involved is local friction or hysteresis which turns a dynamically loaded defect into a heat source which is identified by a thermography system. If the excitation frequency matches to a resonance of the vibrating system, temperature patterns can occur that are caused by standing elastic waves. This undesirable patterns can affect the detection of damages in a negative way. We describe a technique how the defect detectability of ultrasound activated thermography can be improved. With the objective of a preferably diffuse distributed sonic field we applied frequency modulated ultrasound to the material. That way the standing waves can be eliminated or reduced and the detectability is improved.