An integrated framework for finite element modelling of ultrasonic inspections of carbon fibre reinforced polymer components

  • Jeff Mainland Dobson

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Over the last decade there has been a vast increase in the use of composite materials in many engineering aspects. This increase is due to their ability to provide increased mechanical strength while also yielding weight savings in structures. Not only can composites be manufactured to create complex geometry components, their layup can be designed to provide optimum strength and stiffness.Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) composite materials pose a challenge for ultrasonic Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE) inspections due to their anisotropic material properties and often complex morphology.This Thesis develops an integrated framework to allow for accurate Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulations of CFRP components to be constructed. The developed framework can generate the CFRP model geometry from a range of different sources. This enables the ability to construct models based on the design specification of the component, through scripting or importing of component design information, as well as creating models based on their real structure, from images taken from micrographs or X-Ray CT data.;This allows for ultrasonic NDE inspections to be simulated to develop a better understanding of inspection performance, as well as act as a tool to aid inspection design.A parametric study for the inspection of a flat CFRP component is presented to demonstrate the benefit of simulation to aid the understanding of the ultrasonic response and ability to optimise the inspection setup. Further work focuses on the simulation of inspections of tapered geometry components. This adds an additional level of complexity to the inspection and FEA simulation is shown to be an effective technique to optimise specific inspection parameters. Importantly,inspection amplitude maps are used as a tool, both to understand the limitations of an inspection configuration, and to develop new inspection approaches.
Date of Award4 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsEPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) & University of Strathclyde
SupervisorAnthony Gachagan (Supervisor) & Richard O'Leary (Supervisor)

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