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Terahertz Quality Inspection for Automotive and Aviation Industries

: Ellrich, F.; Bauer, M.; Schreiner, N.; Keil, A.; Pfeiffer, T.; Klier, J.; Weber, S.; Jonuscheit, J.; Friederich, F.; Molter, D.

Volltext ()

Journal of infrared, millimeter, and terahertz waves 41 (2020), Nr.4, S.470-489
ISSN: 1866-6892
ISSN: 1866-6906
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ITWM ()
terahertz; quality inspection; automotive; aviation; volume inspection; composite material characterization; foam inspection; layer thickness determination; multilayer; wet coatings; vibration compensation

Nondestructive quality inspection with terahertz waves has become an emerging technology, especially in the automotive and aviation industries. Depending on the specific application, different terahertz systems either fully electronic or based on optical laser pulses cover the terahertz frequency region from 0.1 THz up to nearly 10 THz and provide high-speed volume inspections on the one hand and high-resolution thickness determination on the other hand. In this paper, we present different industrial applications, which we have addressed with our terahertz systems within the last couple of years. First, we show three-dimensional imaging of glass fiber reinforced composites and foam structures, and demonstrate thickness determination of multilayer plastic tube walls. Then, we present the characterization of known and unknown multilayer systems down to some microns and the possibility of measuring the thickness of wet paints. The challenges of system reliability in industrial environments, e.g., under the impact of vibrations, and effective solutions are discussed. This paper gives an overview of state-of-the-art terahertz technology for industrial quality inspection. The presented principles are not limited to the automotive and aviation industries but can also be adapted to many other industrial fields.