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High-throughput laser inspection of aircraft fuselages

​​CIVA simulation software now includes a new module that can generate ultrasound generation models via the interaction of laser pulses with composite materials. This advance will contribute to faster production and assembly of composite structures for the aeronautics industry.​

Published on 7 October 2016

​Ultrasonic laser inspection is a contactless non-destructive testing (NDT) technique that is gaining traction in the aeronautics industry. The technique is particularly well-suited to inspecting large composite structures such as airplane fuselages.

The transient thermoelastic phenomenon behind ultrasound is even more efficient due to the fact that the laser energy is absorbed by the first few nanometers of the material. In practical terms, the absorption is obtained by applying absorbent coatings to the surface. Eliminating this step could help speed up testing on the production line. And a better understanding of the mechanisms that underpin ultrasound generation by laser without the coating is the first step toward getting the innovation ready for industrial rollout.

List, a CEA Tech institute, is working to achieve this goal by modeling the associated laser-material interaction. The institute's models have revealed that absorption conditions significantly influence the effectiveness of ultrasonic waves generated in composite materials.
List's participation in EU project Locomachs resulted in the development of these features for the institute's CIVA software. The new module is currently undergoing validation testing at Airbus. 

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