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Optical method and apparatus for detection of defects and microstructural changes in ceramics and ceramic coatings

United States Patent

September 4, 2001
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Argonne National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Development and Commercialization Website
Apparatus detects defects and microstructural changes in hard translucent materials such as ceramic bulk compositions and ceramic coatings such as after use under load conditions. The beam from a tunable laser is directed onto the sample under study and light reflected by the sample is directed to two detectors, with light scattered with a small scatter angle directed to a first detector and light scattered with a larger scatter angle directed to a second detector for monitoring the scattering surface. The sum and ratio of the two detector outputs respectively provide a gray-scale, or "sum" image, and an indication of the lateral spread of the subsurface scatter, or "ratio" image. This two detector system allows for very high speed crack detection for on-line, real-time inspection of damage in ceramic components. Statistical image processing using a digital image processing approach allows for the quantative discrimination of the presence and distribution of small flaws in a sample while improving detection reliability. The tunable laser allows for the penetration of the sample to detect defects from the sample's surface to the laser's maximum depth of penetration. A layered optical fiber directs the incoming laser beam to the sample and transmits each scattered signal to a respective one of the two detectors.
Ellingson; William A. (Naperville, IL), Todd; Judith A. (Hinsdale, IL), Sun; Jiangang (Westmont, IL)
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
09/ 330,727
June 11, 1999
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-31-109-ENG-38 between the U.S. Department of Energy and The University of Chicago representing Argonne National Laboratory.