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Managing Structural Integrity throug
Source:    Publish Time: 2014-03-01 19:05   606 Views   Size:  16px  14px  12px
Managing Structural Integrity through Non-Destructive Evaluation

Managing Structural Integrity through Non-Destructive Evaluation


by

Christian Boller

Chair of NDT & Quality Assurance, Saarland University, Saarbrücken/Germany

Fraunhofer IZFP, Saarbrücken/Germany


Structural integrity is paramount in the engineering profession. Without this not being guaranteed there is no justification for engineering at all. For whatever is designed or built the appropriate quality has therefore to be warranted. This is significantly achieved through non-destructive testing (NDT) being applied in the manufacturing and assembly process. NDT is not limited to detecting flaws during a manufacturing and assembly process only. Stresses and strength, hardness, porosity, humidity or density are parameters widely considered by NDT too and this even down to the micro scale. The ability of obtaining sensor technology at a decreasing cost and the ambition in enhancing an engineering structure’s performance has allowed NDT to become a major element in certifying manufacturing quality. This may not always become apparent along the manufacturing and assembly process chain since many of the NDT procedures have even become a part within the manufacturing process itself in a way that NDT parameters are used as a physical control parameter during the manufacturing process.


Engineering structures in operation are due to age and hence to damage over time. This is an unavoidable process of a stochastic nature that has to be managed such that safety of those structures is never compromised. Again enhanced and emerging sensor technology provided at a continuous decrease in cost and being combined with an increase in computation power does allow damage accumulation and hence ageing of structures to be tracked in a way this has never been possible before. With additional prognostic methods and tools ageing processes of structures can be predicted on the basis of NDT techniques. This can help to ‘individually’ assess an engineering structure’s life, which opens opportunities to manage those structures’ maintenance on condition and to optimize their usage in terms of operational life at the same time.


Based on those management issues the presentation will address structures made of different types of materials starting with metals as the material being known best at present and gradually moving over to composite materials of a fibrous (i.e. CFRP) as well as a mineral (i.e. concrete) basis, where the damaging mechanisms are less known but the principle of damage tolerance can be applied similar to metals in case adequate advantage of recent and emerging NDT technology can be taken.