3D texture analysis for inspecting composite components


A texture shows a material’s structural character. Textures are composed of periodically-repeated variations in patterns. With the aid of suitable algorithms, textures can be described mathematically. The resulting texture analysis has already been frequently used in 2D image processing to identify defects, for example.

This concept has now been implemented at Fraunhofer IPA for 3D volumetric data, with new algorithms being developed for 3D texture analysis. Computer tomography is used to generate the volumetric data.

Up till now, the method has mostly been applied to evaluate fiber-reinforced plastics, generally with carbon or glass as a base material. These composite plastics are both lightweight and stable and are used mainly for aerospace and automotive applications.

3D texture analysis is used to automatically identify typical defects, such as delamination or cracks, in computer tomography scans of composite plastics.

An important quality feature of composite plastics is the orientation of the fibers because this has a direct influence on the material’s stability. It has been shown that 3D texture analysis not only identifies defects but also automatically recognizes the orientation of fibers. Consequently, 3D texture analysis is a suitable method for inspecting fiber-reinforced components. It is also suitable for evaluating components made from materials with periodically-repeated patterns.