Composite materials encompass a broad and well-established family of materials which are being extensively used for the commercial applications including automotive, aerospace & defense and other manufacturing industries owing to the requirement of high performance. European automotive manufacturers have made considerable use of lower performance glass fiber reinforced polyester (GFRP) material for the automotive applications and from that, the adoption of composite materials for the automotive applications have been on rise. Composites are much more complex than metals in terms of damage growth and fatigue.
Non-destructive testing is being utilized in the recent years to test the composites that are mostly used in critical safety applications in aircraft primary structures and interior and exterior structures of transport vehicles. Research establishments are emphasizing the importance of compression-compression, or fully reversed fatigue tests on composite materials. For all fatigue load cases, there is major concern because composites exhibit temperature sensitive behavior and heat generation during loading and failure. There is no doubt that the structural composites market is going to keep growing for the foreseeable future and ultimately, this commercial demand comes from the power generation and transport industries.
Non-destructive testing of composite materials has become more crucial and demanding in the recent years owing to the factors such as efficiency and safety and material protection which includes the testing of the material without causing any damage to the test specimen. As manufacturers continue to focus on improving the performance of composite materials in end user industries, it is imperative that non-destructive ultrasonic techniques are used to reliably scan for failure and consistency of complex composite materials. Moreover, the transformation of existing NDT equipment is projected to witness innovation in the equipment testing space which could bolster the adoption of NDT for the composite materials testing applications. Companies including Zwick Roell GmbH (Germany), Shimadzu Corporation (Japan) and so on are focusing on the development of equipment for the composites testing equipment.
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