Active infrared (IR) thermography, because of its high productivity and illustrativeness, is a promising technique in nondestructive testing (NDT). The purpose of this paper is to discuss a concept and practical implementation of a portable experimental unit intended for IR thermographic NDT of corrosion in metallic shells.
The basic theory relates to the analysis of heat conduction in a plate with rear-surface material loss subjected to pulse, thermal wave or arbitrary heating.
The amplitude of temperature anomalies over defects and their characteristic observation times depend on material loss, size and shape of corrosion defects. A flexible architecture of the inspection unit is proposed to include flash tubes, halogen lamps and laser-emitting diode (LED) panels as sources of stimulating thermal radiation. In particular, LED heaters might be perspective due to their narrow spectral band, which is beyond a spectral sensitivity of modern IR imagers. It has been found that the IR thermographic technique is convenient for detecting material loss of up to 15–20 per cent in uniformly painted steel shells with thickness up to 8 mm. The concept of signal-to-noise ratio has been applied to evaluate efficiency of data processing techniques, such as Fourier transform and principal component analysis.
The developed equipment and inspection guidelines can be used for detecting hidden corrosion in metallic objects, such as above-ground tanks, pipes, containers, etc.
This study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation grant # 19–79-00049 (processing algorithms and test methodology) and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research # 19–29-13004 (experimentation) .
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