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PhD vacancy (4 years) on nondestructive testing (NDT) of composites using Guided Waves

Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering

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Prof Wim VAN PAEPEGEM Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The aim of this project is to develop robust guided waves NDT methods that can detect defects in Fiber reinforced plastic parts (focus on aerospace and automotive industry). There is a very strong need for such NDT methods, because although ultrasound inspection is considered to be the most accurate NDT technique today, it still suffers from many limitations :

it is slow, because it is a point-wise measurement (in reflection or transmission) and inspection times of 15 minutes up to a few hours are very common for larger composite parts,
the robot that mounts the ultrasound sensor (or phased array) needs to be programmed to obtain an optimized scanning path for every composite part, and for larger parts, this can take a few weeks of programming,
a coupling medium is required,
parts with complex geometry and sharp corners are difficult to handle for ultrasound, and are still inspected manually. Also sandwich panels are difficult to inspect due to the large scattering of the waves.
These considerations led to the conception of this project proposal. The general goal of this project is to develop novel NDT approaches on the basis of (full-field) guided waves, that can detect defects in composite parts with industrial complexity. Several steps will need to be tackled to achieve this goal:

Study on optimal excitation strategy (e.g. contact(less), excitation location(s), wave signal …)
Sparse and full-field sensing approaches
Use of both linear and nonlinear signal responses to increase sensitivity to (incipient) damage
Development of proper and advanced post-processing tools to get an enhanced damage map
Development of numerical model to assist the experimental observations
The UGent-MMS group has all the needed facilities (autoclave, VARTM …) to produce composite parts with (artificial) defects. Through our industrial contacts, there are also actual defected composite parts available from aerospace, automotive and energy industry. The UGent-MMS research group has the needed hardware for excitation and acquisition of (full field) guided waves, e.g. a state-of-the-art 3D Scanning Laser Doppler Vibrometer (Polytec PSV-500-3D Xtra) is available. The group has also the needed expertise in FEM.
Further, the research group has a wide expertise in NDT methods (water- and air-coupled ultrasonics, resonance testing, active thermography …) and mechanical characterization (tensile testing, impact, fatigue …) of composites.

Only candidates with a Master degree should apply. The candidate should have a strong background in experimental nondestructive testing methods of materials, preferably combined with knowledge of composite materials and guided wave based NDT methods. The candidate should be well experienced with signal processing and programming in Matlab.
The candidate will work together with a senior PhD student and a postdoctoral researcher.

More information can be found on :

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