Non-Destructive Investigation of Glass Fiber Reinforced Composites via Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Glass fibre reinforced composites (GFRC), used in the manufacture of wind turbine blades, can suffer unpredictable, post-manufacturing, in-situ structural failure. The economic cost of remediation of such blade failures is extremely high, both on land and offshore. We suggest using zero-time-to-echo (ZTE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a method for characterising glass fibre reinforced composites. Initially, we demonstrate that carbon-13 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectra acquired at 800MHz provide finger-print like information and that there is sufficient hydrogen-1 NMR signal available to conduct MRI. This work explores the efficacy of using zero timetoecho (ZTE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect the rapidly decaying Hydrogen-1 (1H) NMR signal from a representative sample. A 400MHz surface resonator was developed made of a 20mm diameter loop formed with 1.5mm thick silver wire and designed with variable tuning and matching in order to investigate the 1H-MRI signal at 9.4T static magnetic field strength. The thickness of the GFRC was determined from the MRI data to be 3.51±0.28mm while the physical measurement using a caliper device resulted in a measurement of 3.45mm. Hence, a high spatial resolution accuracy is provided by ZTE MRI. Very short T2* (<20μs) of the material led to stronger blurring artefacts for the blade material compared to heat shrink used for insulating the silver wire of the detector. 1H images of the blade material were acquired demonstrating that ZTE is a suitable technique for acquiring image data from glass fibre materials. Work is on-going in studying the relaxation time parameters and chemical frequency shifts for materials with and without structural weaknesses in order to improve the predictive power of the technique. In conclusion, ZTE-MRI can provide useful information about the mechanical properties of glass fibre reinforced composites.
F. Wetterling et al., "Non-Destructive Investigation of Glass Fiber Reinforced Composites via Magnetic Resonance Imaging", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 569-570, pp. 126-131, 2013