Standard Active Last Updated: Jan 13, 2020
ASTM E2581-14(2019)

Standard Practice for Shearography of Polymer Matrix Composites and Sandwich Core Materials in Aerospace Applications

Significance and Use

5.1 Shearography is commonly used during product process design and optimization, process control, after manufacture inspection, and in service inspection, and can be used to measure static and dynamic axial (tensile and compressive) strain, as well as shearing, Poisson, bending, and torsional strains. The general types of defects detected by shearography include delamination, deformation under load, disbond/unbond, microcracks, and thickness variation.

5.2 Additional information is given in Guide E2533 about the advantages and limitations of the shearography technique, use of related ASTM documents, specimen geometry and size considerations, calibration and standardization, and physical reference standards.

5.3 For procedures for shearography of filament-wound pressure vessels, otherwise known as composite overwrapped pressure vessels, consult Guide E2982.

5.4 Factors that influence shearography and therefore shall be reported include but are not limited to the following: laminate (matrix and fiber) material, lay-up geometry, fiber volume fraction (flat panels); facing material, core material, facing stack sequence, core geometry (cell size); core density, facing void content, and facing volume percent reinforcement (sandwich core materials); processing and fabrication methods, overall thickness, specimen alignment, specimen conditioning, specimen geometry, and test environment (flat panels and sandwich core materials). Shearography has been used with excellent results for composite and metal face sheet sandwich panels with both honeycomb and foam cores, solid monolithic composite laminates, foam cryogenic fuel tank insulation, bonded cork insulation, aircraft tires, elastomeric and plastic coatings. Frequently, defects at multiple and far side bond lines can be detected.


1.1 This practice describes procedures for shearography of polymer matrix composites and sandwich core materials made entirely or in part from fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composites. The composite materials under consideration typically contain continuous high modulus (greater than 20 GPa (3×106 psi)) fibers, but may also contain discontinuous fiber, fabric, or particulate reinforcement.

1.2 This practice describes established shearography procedures that are currently used by industry and federal agencies that have demonstrated utility in quality assurance of polymer matrix composites and sandwich core materials during product process design and optimization, manufacturing process control, after manufacture inspection, and in service inspection.

1.3 This practice has utility for testing of polymer matrix composites and sandwich core materials containing but not limited to bismaleimide, epoxy, phenolic, poly(amideimide), polybenzimidazole, polyester (thermosetting and thermoplastic), poly(ether ether ketone), poly(ether imide), polyimide (thermosetting and thermoplastic), poly(phenylene sulfide), or polysulfone matrices; and alumina, aramid, boron, carbon, glass, quartz, or silicon carbide fibers. Typical as-fabricated geometries include uniaxial, cross-ply and angle-ply laminates; as well as honeycomb and foam core sandwich materials and structures.

1.4 This practice does not specify accept-reject criteria and is not intended to be used as a means for approving polymer matrix composites or sandwich core materials for service.

1.5 To ensure proper use of the referenced standards, there are recognized nondestructive testing (NDT) specialists that are certified according to industry and company NDT specifications. It is recommended that an NDT specialist be a part of any composite component design, quality assurance, in-service maintenance, or damage examination activity.

1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.7 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 03.04
Developed by Subcommittee: E07.10
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.1520/E2581-14R19
ICS Code: 49.140; 83.120