HOUSTON, TX-The NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX has awarded MoviTHERM Advanced Thermography Solutions a contract for an infrared non-destructive test (NDT) system for the purpose of testing advanced composite structures and materials.

The NDT test system uses a thermal camera from FLIR Systems and various thermal excitation sources. Halogen lamp arrays and Xenon flash lamps induce a low temperature thermal wave into the surface of the composite material. The system then analyzes the reflected thermal wave over time and is able to detect defects and inhomogeneities in the makeup of the material.

The NDT system, known as composite check, uses a lockin thermography method for enhanced sensitivity to highlight material defects such as voids, foreign material inclusions, impact damages and delaminated areas.

From the international space station to the recently announced space launch system program, a super rocket - more and more conventional materials are being replaced in favor of composites. However, despite all the advantages that composite materials offer, there are also significant challenges in the manufacturing process that demand new inspection technologies.