Demands for improvements in aerospace and automotive energy-efficiency, performance, corrosion resistance, body stiffness and style have increased the use of adhesive bonds to help meet those demands, by providing joining technology that accommodates a wider variety of materials and design options. However, the history of adhesive bond performance clearly indicates the need for a robust method of assuring the existence of the required consistent level of adhesive bond integrity in every bonded region. The Quality Assurance of Adhesive Bonds by Ultrasonic Nondestructive Testing technology put forth in this book meets that need by describing two new, complementary ultrasonic techniques for the evaluation of these bonds, and thus provide improvements over previous methods.
The development of a 20 MHz pulse-echo method for nondestructive evaluation of adhesive bonds will accomplish the assessment of bond joints with adhesive as thin as 0.1 mm. This new method advances the state of the art by providing a high-resolution, phase-sensitive procedure that identifies the bond state at each interface of the adhesive with the substrate(s), by the acquisition and analysis of acoustic echoes reflected from interfaces between layers with large acoustic impedance mismatch. Because interface echo amplitudes are marginal when the acoustic impedance of the substrate is close to that of the adhesive, a 25 kHz Lamb wave technique was developed to be employed in such cases, albeit with reduced resolution.
Modeling the ultrasonic echoes and Lamb-wave signals was accomplished using mathematical expressions developed from the physics of acoustic transmission, attenuation and reflection in layered media. The models were validated by experimental results from a variety of bond joint materials, geometries and conditions, thereby confirming the validity of the methodology used for extracting interpretations from the phase-sensitive indications, as well as identifying the range and limits of applications.
Results from the application of both methodologies to laboratory specimens and to samples from production operations are reported herein, and show that bond-joint integrity can be evaluated effectively over the range of materials and geometries addressed.