“LASLAT streamlines the inspection process so that time spent on ancillary tasks – such as positioning, marking and archiving – is reduced or eliminated,” says Steven Shepard, president of Thermal Wave Imaging. “It can be moved to different inspection stations for different applications, unlike fixed gantry or robotics, which are considerably more expensive. The inspector has more time to analyze the problem.”

The first LASLAT system, developed for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), was delivered in 2018 to a Fleet Readiness Center in Cherry Point, N.C., to improve detection capabilities for V-22 proprotor blade inspections. Thermal Wave was recently awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Phase II.5 contract from NAVAIR’s Fleet Readiness Center in North Island, Calif., to improve detection capabilities for aircraft structures on the E-2 and F-18 platforms. LASLAT is now available commercially.

Embedded Sensor Technology

It would be great if wind turbine blades or aircraft wings could alert you when they had a problem. Embedded sensors offer a step in that direction. One such NDE method is the ODiSI 6000 Series, a fiber optic sensor system from the Lightwave Division of Luna that can profile temperature in-situ, measure 2D and 3D strain fields to validate FEA models and evaluate multi-material joining. Fiber optics are flexible, low profile, require no electrical source and are able to be embedded into or bonded onto any part geometry where other sensors cannot – in bends and around corners.

The optical fiber itself is a non-intrusive wire-length silica that is approximately .15 millimeters in diameter. The ODiSI 6000 system provides more than 150,000 measurement locations with 1,000 strain or temperature measurements per meter, providing high-definition data that can be used to map the contour of strain or temperature for a structure being tested, according to Luna.

“When a part is in service, we can remotely see damage as a function of a change in the strain signal,” says Matt Davis, R&D director for the Lightwave Division of Luna. Depending on the needs of the customer, ODiSI 6000 can be deployed for continuous monitoring via a network that sends data to a larger data management system. Or it can be used in the field for periodic inspections. According to Davis, the part data in its current state is compared to a historic record of the part within the customer’s quality control infrastructure. The software will recognize the part once the ODiSI is connected and then collect the data to determine if there has been a material change.