Hand-Held Nondestructive Inspection (NDI) Scanner for Composite Missile Systems

Period of Performance: 02/23/2011 - 02/20/2013

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Quest Integrated, Inc.
19823 58th Place S
Kent, WA 98032
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Missile structures are trending toward greater use of composites materials thanks to its weight savings, mechanical properties, manufacturability and excellent performance under fire, meeting "insensitive munitions" criteria. However, composites are not immune to damages and accidental in-field impacts resulting from mishandling or transportation loads. In spite of the time and effort expended on the development of inspection tools for composites, its implementation on highly curved surface applications such as missiles is still an issue. In this proposal, we propose the development of a hand-held tool based on a dry-coupling hybrid flexible ultrasonic sensing array. The tool uses an array of pulse-echo PVDF transducers for delamination/disbond detection, and a frame of Lamb-Wave transducers for crack detection placed around the PVDF array. The electronics, mechanical components, display, and manufacturing aspects of that tool are presented. In addition, some inspection strategies regarding the tool shape are discussed as well. Finally, the proposal includes the main tasks to successfully develop and deliver a suitable hand-held scanner tool to inspect the NAVY missile composite structures.