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This paper will show how ultrasonic C-scans can be used to find some types of defects in continuous fiber reinforced metal matrix composites such as boron/aluminum composites. These defects will then be related to the fatigue behavior and fracture location of each inspected specimen. The C-scan technique was used to determine the relative amount of defects in boron/aluminum composites. The defects were primarily identified as gaps in the fiber spacing. Those specimens with higher defect densities had shorter fatigue lives, lower fatigue endurance limits, and greater reductions in the elastic unloading modulus (that is, stiffness) because of fatigue cycling. This type of data could be used to set accept/reject levels for a composite panel based on C-scan indications.
Senior research engineer, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA
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