Terahertz Detection of Composite Heat Damage
Navy SBIR FY2013.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2013.1
Topic No.: N131-013
Topic Title: Terahertz Detection of Composite Heat Damage
Proposal No.: N131-013-0811
Firm: Picometrix LLC
2925 Boardwalk
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
Contact: David Zimdars
Phone: (734) 864-5639
Web Site: www.picometrix.com
Abstract: In this Phase I SBIR project, we propose to demonstrate the feasibility of a Time-Domain Terahertz (TD-THz or THz) system for rapid determination of the composite heat damage to airframes. The method employed will be capable of inspecting for heat damage underneath paint and coatings to detect hidden and early-stage degradation of the composite. We will experimentally investigate a BMI based composite before and after heat damage, and compare THz to other inspection methods for determining changes in the composite characteristics. The proposed method will be able to measure these properties on a wide variety of composite systems with a remotely positionable sensor. The sensor will be suitable for hand-held single point measurements; and adaptable to robotic or gantry scanning of large area regions. The reflection T-Ray sensor will have non-contact operation, with working distances adjustable from less than 1 cm up to 10 cm. Measurement will be real time, with waveforms acquired at rates up to 1000 Hz, allowing large areas to be scanned.
Benefits: For the Phase II of the project, we will design a new Heat Damage Detection and Evaluation Unit (HDDEU). The testing results from Phase I will be refined into a simple algorithm with clear results that reduces the number of unclear, possibly incipient damage cases. The algorithm will be built into the HDDEU with no remote processing required. Upon completion of Phase II, the system will allow service personnel to check composites in the field to determine if heat damage is indicated, and the extent of the area of damage.