Apparatus for the automated real-time detection and classification of defects during the machining of ceramic components employs an elastic optical scattering technique using polarized laser light. A ceramic specimen is continuously moved while being machined. Polarized laser light is directed onto the ceramic specimen surface at a fixed position just aft of the machining tool for examination of the newly machined surface. Any foreign material near the location of the laser light on the ceramic specimen is cleared by an air blast. As the specimen is moved, its surface is continuously scanned by the polarized laser light beam to provide a two-dimensional image presented in real-time on a video display unit, with the motion of the ceramic specimen synchronized with the data acquisition speed. By storing known "feature masks" representing various surface and sub-surface defects and comparing measured defects with the stored feature masks, detected defects may be automatically characterized. Using multiple detectors, various types of defects may be detected and classified.
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.