Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Real-time Cure Monitoring of Composites Using a Guided wave-based System with High Temperature Piezoelectric Transducers, Fiber Bragg Gratings, and Phase-shifted Fiber Bragg Gratings
by Hudson, Tyler Blake, Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2017, 267; 10758821
Abstract (Summary)

An in-process, in-situ cure monitoring technique utilizing a guided wave-based concept for carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites was investigated. Two automated cure monitoring systems using guided-wave ultrasonics were developed for characterizing the state of the cure. In the first system, surface mounted high-temperature piezoelectric transducer arrays were employed for actuation and sensing. The second system motivated by the success of the first system includes a single piezoelectric disc, bonded onto the surface of the composite for excitation; fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) and/or phase-shifted fiber Bragg gratings (PSFBGs) were embedded in the composite for distributed cure sensing.

Composite material properties (viscosity and degree of cure) evolved during cure of the panels fabricated from Hexcel® IM7/8552 prepreg correlated well to the amplitude, time of arrival, and group velocity of the guided wave-based measurements during the cure cycle. In addition, key phase transitions (gelation and vitrification) were clearly identified from the experimental data during the same cure cycle. The material properties and phase transitions were validated using cure process modeling software (e.g., RAVEN®).

The high-temperature piezoelectric transducer array system demonstrated the feasibility of a guided wave-based, in-process, cure monitoring and provided the framework for defect detection during cure. Ultimately, this system could provide a traceable data stream for non-compliance investigations during serial production and perform closed-loop process control to maximize composite panel quality and consistency. In addition, this system could be deployed as a “smart” caul/tool plate to existing production lines without changing the design of the aircraft/structure.

With the second system, strain in low frequency (quasi-static) and the guided wavebased signals in several hundred kilohertz range were measured almost simultaneously using the same FBG or PS-FBG throughout the cure cycle. Also, the residual strain can be readily determined at the end of the cure. This system demonstrated a real-time, in-situ, cure monitoring system using embedded multiplexed FBG/PS-FBG sensors to record both guided wave-based signals and strain. The distinct advantages of a fiber optic-based system include multiplexing, small size, embedding, utilization in harsh environments, electrically passive operation, and electromagnetic interference (EMI) immunity. The embedded multiplexed FBG/PS-FBG fiber optic sensor can monitor the entire life-cycle of the composite structure from curing, post-cure/assembly, and in-service for creating “smart structures”.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Yuan, Fuh-Gwo
Commitee: Chang, Chih-Hao, Jiang, Xiaoning, Kudenov, Michael
School: North Carolina State University
Department: Aerospace Engineering
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-B 79/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Aerospace engineering, Mechanical engineering, Optics
Keywords: Composites, Fiber Bragg Gratings, Guided waves, Non-destructive Evaluation, Phase-shifted Fiber Bragg Gratings, Piezoelectric transducers
Publication Number: 10758821
ISBN: 978-0-355-63397-9
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