Examination of spot welded joints with active thermography
The method described here allows to determine the size of the thermal contact between two metal sheets joined by spot welding. This size is a measure for the size of the weld nugget, i.e. the zone melted during the welding process, and thus the quality of the welded joint. The method applies active thermography in transmission or reflection setup. Especially the reflection setup offers an attractive possibility for non-destructive testing when components can be accessed from one side only. The spot weld region is optically heated by laser or flash light radiation. The weld nugget provides the mechanical joint, but also constitutes a thermal bridge between the two welded sheets. The latter will be exploited in this method. The better thermal contact at the weld nugget contrasts with the surrounding material, where the heat transfer between the two sheets is comparatively low. A major advantage of the described method is the applicability on sheets without any surface treatment. This is achieved by a proper normalization of the data, allowing for a correction of the varying surface emissivity.