Non-Destructive Evaluation of Surface Coating on Ceramic Matrix Composites using Thermographic Techniques

  • Di Carolo, Francesca (Politecnico di Bari)
  • Santonicola, Giovanni (DES-Diagnostic Engineering Solutions S.r.l)
  • Ancona, Francesco (DES-Diagnostic Engineering Solutions S.r.l)
  • Palumbo, Davide (Politecnico di Bari)
  • Galietti, Umberto (Politecnico di Bari)
  • Toscano, Cinzia (CIRA-Centro Italiano di Ricerca Aerospaziale)
  • De Stefano Fumo, Mario (CIRA-Centro Italiano di Ricerca Aerospaziale)
  • De Cesare, Mario (CIRA-Centro Italiano di Ricerca Aerospaziale)

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Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) have gained attention in recent years due to their excellent high-temperature properties and potential for use in various industries. However, verifying the structural integrity of CMC components can be challenging. Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) techniques are critical for identifying cracks and defects in CMCs without affecting their performance or function. Thermographic techniques are a type of NDT that uses infrared imaging to assess the condition of materials. In this study, thermographic techniques were used to evaluate the surface coating of CMC components made from an innovative Ceramic Matrix Composite, ISiComp®. The ISiComp® material is currently undergoing testing at CIRA PWT laboratory and is being used for the design and development of the Thermal Protection System for the ESA Space Rider Re-entry Module. The study aimed to demonstrate the effectiveness of thermographic techniques in identifying the condition of the coating and categorizing the samples as either 'coated,' 'uncoated,' or 'oxidized.' Different sources and methods of thermal excitation were compared, and Pulsed Lock-in Thermography was found to be the most suitable technique. The statistical analysis of the results demonstrated the ability of thermographic techniques to distinguish between the three different coating conditions, and the feasibility of a field-deployable coating verification system was also shown.