Bath University and the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi are collaborating to look at the efficiency of new ways of detecting dangerous defects in vehicles including aircraft, racing cars and spacecraft.
The project will compare the effectiveness of various forms of thermography, a method which examines the way heat flows across the part being inspected for safety. Cracks that could lead to the failure of the part will trap heat and this shows up on infra red camera scans.
New thermographic techniques are necessary to better detect any damage to composite materials. This is because the composite consists of layers that are glued together and any impact can make the carbon layers come apart from the glue beneath the surface and invisible to the eye.
The £70,000 funding for the collaboration comes from the two institutions and from the UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).
The project will analyse the efficiency of a new thermography method developed in India, called Frequency Modulated Thermal Wave Imaging, in which the part being inspected is heated by shining light modulated over a range of frequencies onto it.
The technique is also called ‘chirp’ modulation, as it was originally developed to improve radar performance and was later discovered to be used by bats to echo-locate using chirps of sound.
The researchers will compare this system to three other current thermography methods, which are being studied at University of Bath. If the new method is more effective, then the aircraft and other industries will be interested in using it.