Laser Lock-In Thermography for Fatigue Crack Detection
This study proposes a new nondestructive evaluation methodology named laser lock-in thermography (LLT) for fatigue crack detection. LLT utilizes a high power continuous wave (CW) laser as a heat generation source for lock-in thermography instead of commonly used flash and halogen lamps. The advantages of the proposed LLT method are that (1) the laser heat source can be positioned at an extended distance from a target structure thank to the directionality and low energy loss of the laser source, (2) thermal image degradation due to surrounding temperature disturbances can be minimized because of high temperature gradient generated by the laser source and (3) a large target surface can be inspected using a scanning laser heat source. The developed LLT system is composed of a modulated high power CW laser, galvanometer and infrared camera. Then, a holder exponent-based data processing algorithm is proposed for intuitive damage evaluation. The developed LLT is employed to detect a micro fatigue crack in a metal plate. The test result confirms that 5 μm (or smaller) fatigue crack in a dog-bone shape aluminum plate with a dimension of 400 x 140 x 3 mm3 can be detected.
W.K. Chiu and S.C. Galea
Y. K. An et al., "Laser Lock-In Thermography for Fatigue Crack Detection", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 558, pp. 76-83, 2013