Low Cost, Controlled Depth, Simulated Cracks in Turbine Engine Components

Period of Performance: 01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mound Laser & Photonics Center, Inc.
2941 College Drive
Kettering, OH 45420
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT:To implement more efficient inspection techniques for turbine engine components, such as vibrothermography, it is necessary to conduct reliability assessments. ?This requires a set of specimens with standardized crack defects. ?Traditional flexural fatigue methods for producing artificial cracks are slow, expensive and, due to lack of process reliability, very wasteful costly test pieces. ?These methods are also limited in where defects can be placed and the part geometries to which they can be applied. This project will use advanced laser micromachining techniques to create crack-like defects in turbine engine materials that closely mimic natural cracks when viewed by vibrothermography. The laser method will allow accurate placement of defects on almost any geometry, to well controlled depth with near zero part scrap. ?The time and cost for defect creation will be reduced by approximately one order of magnitude. This capability will reduce the cost of NDE reliability assessment as well as provide affordable test standards to train NDE inspectors and develop new NDE methodologies and protocols.BENEFIT:The standardized defect technology developed under this SBIR will support inspection work at the Air Logistics Complexes thereby improving affordability and availability of fielded and future aerospace weapon systems by extending their service life, ensuring flight safety, reducing sustainment costs, and affirming mission readiness. ?Similar benefits can accrue to the commercial aviation sector.