Optical Transmission Scanning for Damage Quantification in Impacted GFRP Composites

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of Nondestructive Characterization and Monitoring of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, and Civil Infrastructure




Glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) composites constitute nearly 90% of the global composites market and are extensively used in aerospace, marine, automotive and construction industries. While their advantages of lightweight and superior mechanical properties are well explored, non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques that allow for damage/defect detection and assessment of its extent and severity are not fully developed. Some of the conventional NDE techniques for GFRPs include ultrasonics, X-ray, IR thermography, and a variety of optical techniques. Optical methods, specifically measuring the transmission properties (e.g. ballistic optical imaging) of specimens, provide noninvasive, safe, inexpensive, and compact solutions and are commonly used in biomedical applications. In this work, this technique is adapted for rapid NDE of GFRP composites. In its basic form, the system for optical transmission scanning (OTS) consists of a light source (laser diode), a photo detector and a 2D translation stage. The proposed technique provides high-resolution, rapid and non-contact OT (optical transmittance)-scans, and does not require any coupling. The OTS system was used for inspection of pristine and low-velocity impacted (damaged) GFRP samples. The OT-scans were compared with conventional ultrasonic C-scans and showed excellent agreement but with better resolution. Overall, the work presented lays the groundwork for cost-effective, non-contact, and rapid NDE of GFRP composite structures.