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February 2008 edition

Method adapted from bat echo-location is tested for inspecting composite aircraft

Bath University and the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi have been working on a technique, adapted from the echo-location method used by bats, to inspect composite structures for unseen cracks and damage.

The Anglo-Indian project will analyse the efficiency of a thermography method called Frequency Modulated Thermal Wave Imaging, which involves examining heat as it flows across an inspected part.

The technique, named 'chirp modulation' after the sound emitted by bats, involves heating up an inspected part by shining a light modulated over a range of frequencies on to it. If a crack that could lead to failure is present, it will trap heat and this will be indicated on infrared camera scans.

The collaboration, which is scheduled to begin in April according to The Engineer, has rece....

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