In-Situ Failure Analyzer

Period of Performance: 08/11/2013 - 08/01/2015


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Optics Corp.
1845 West 205th Street Array
Torrance, CA 90501
Principal Investigator


To address the Navy need for an innovative failure analysis method, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to advance the development of a novel In-Situ Failure Analyzer (INFLA) system proven feasible in Phase I. The INFLA system is based on the innovative integration of a compact, ruggedized optical shearographic detection system with advanced image-recognition algorithms. In Phase I, we achieved tangible and practical results to effectively analyze cracks already detected in metallic aircraft structures and determine the causes of failure in real time without access to the crack face. To meet Navy s specific requirements, we used a proof-of-concept INFLA prototype to differentiate the crack due to cyclic (fatigue) loading from that caused by one-time (static) overload. In Phase II, we plan to further mature and develop a full-scale INFLA system that implements integrated hardware and software to test the cracks in metal samples and/or cracks of known origins in actual flight hardware. POC plans to automate the process for characterizing cracks and to improve the algorithm for crack characterization. We aim to accurately predict failure mechanism by differentiating the types of cracks found in metallic structures: fatigue cracks, overload cracks, or stress corrosion cracks.