Comprehensive Inspection of Turbine Hot Section Blades and Vanes Using Active Thermography

Period of Performance: 06/30/2008 - 06/30/2010


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Thermal Wave Imaging, Inc.
845 Livernois Stret
Ferndale, MI 48220
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Iowa State University
1138 Pearson Hall
Ames, IA 50011
Institution POC


Comprehensive nondestructive Inspection (NDI) of aircraft turbine blades and vanes currently involves a sequence of separate inspections that may involve flow measurement, radiography, ultrasound and wire testing. The process is time-consuming and expensive, and several key inspections rely on subjective visual testing by a human operator. In Phase I, we demonstrated that the entire suite of critical inspections could be performed using various implementations of thermography. In Phase II, we will build upon these results and develop a thermographic inspection station that is capable of performing all critical blade and vane NDI in a single pass. The inspection station will require only a single operator, trained in thermography, and will replace several current inspection steps. The inspection station will improve on current methods for detecting internal blockages using a novel hybrid technique that was developed in Phase I.