Non-Destructive Production Line Structural Evaluation [Tech Paper]

Event Time

Wednesday, September 25 1:30 PM - 1:55 PM

Event Location

Location: Convention Center I 208A

Session Information

Title: Non-Destructive Production Line Structural Evaluation [Tech Paper]


Reinforced Polymer composite materials are proven to provide superior performance in many infrastructure environments.  Examples of opportunities for these include: wind turbine blades; sheet molded shapes; pultruded structural shapes; extruded rail ties; and others. This paper describes a quantitative ultrasonic process for assessing the structural performance of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) or composite materials.  Ultrasonic signals passing through the material are analyzed for how the signal changes from the passage.  These changes have been shown to relate directly to structural performance of the material.  Example will be given of composite railway tie production. The original quality control problem started with identification of defects exceeding a given size.  In addition to reliable identification of defects, bench scale tests showed good correlation of ultrasonic results and a key structural criterion for rail tie acceptance for use.  Since the structural criterion is destructive, minimizing these tests is desirable. The subject testing system is applied soon after mold release when the polymer can accept contact from transducers.  Computer automation is applied to conventional and commercially available ultrasonic equipment to provide quantitative assessment of the structural condition of railway ties.  Tooling and software has been developed to provide in-line, real time assessment of railway tie performance in destructive load tests. This paper will illustrate the bench data and characterization data that was used to develop the inspection technique.  The operating system that developed from this has ongoing comparison of system outputs with destructive load tests.

Type: Non-Destructive Evaluation & Testing Conference Track