SILVER SPRING, MD-Ultrasound solutions provider Imperium Inc., manufacturer of the Acoustocam, a portable ultrasound imaging camera, is developing two alternate configurations of the camera under the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

This is in effort to meet the Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) current requirements for quickly and easily inspecting composite structures for nonvisible damage. The SBIR program provides funding for small business research and development projects with a primary focus on serving the needs of the defense community.

Imperium is developing two different products to address the Navy’s requirements to perform recurring inspections of large sandwich (honeycomb) structures and to detect and quantify impact or battle damage in composite laminates. A through-transmission ultrasonic camera system is being designed to detect skin-to-core disbonds in thin honeycomb structures, such as helicopter rotor blades. A simpler, pulse-echo version of the Acoustocam is being developed to detect defects (delaminations, disbands and corrosion, for example) in composite laminate and metallic sheet- or plate-like structures when only one side of the structure is accessible.

“The intention of both programs is to put a fully portable and simple-to-use system into the hands of the Navy’s nondestructive inspection personnel so that they can quickly and easily find internal defects in our flight-critical components,” says Randy Davis, metallurgist and ASNT-certified NDI engineer for the U.S. Navy. “The Acoustocam is small and can be easily stored. It requires only one day of training and can make some extremely time consuming and difficult jobs faster and easier, while improving the inspector’s probability of finding critical flaws.”

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