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Computer-Aided Tap Tester (CATT) for Inspection of Composite and Metal Honeycomb Structures
Category(s):
For Information, Contact:
Jay Bjerke
Commercialization Manager, Engineering
515-294-4740
licensing@iastate.edu
Web Published:
5/19/2015
ISURF #
2592
Development Stage:
Advanced prototype is complete and available for demonstration. The prototype is expected to require very little development to be brought to market. The manual version had gone through field tests at three airlines and three military bases, and the system is undergoing beta-site tests at American Airlines in Tulsa, OK. The mechanized version is being completed and has also gone through some field tests.

Description:
This technology is an instrumented tap test system that provides quantitative, image-based data regarding the mechanical properties of an inspection area. Driven by a laptop PC, the system produces two dimensional images (or "C-scans") that reveal flaws, damages, repairs and substructures in complex bonded structures such as metal honeycomb sandwiches and composite structures. It produces images of the local stiffness of the component, and the stiffness derived from the tap test was shown to agree with that obtained by static load tests. The instrument generates images that reveal the percent reduction in stiffness due to flaws or damage. It has utility in safety inspections for airlines and other industries, as well as application in quality assurance during fabrication.

Advantage:
• Image-based results - improves on earlier tap test methods and instruments that do not have imaging capability.
• Cost-effective.
• Quantitative stiffness data that are structurally meaningful.
• Simple operation with minimal training - no calibration standards required and test results independent of operator.
• High portability - driven by a laptop PC without need of external AC power.
• Manual and mechanized data collection.

Application:
1. Non-destructive testing and inspection of manufacturing-related or service-induced defects, flaws and damages in composite and metal honeycomb structures. 2. Aircraft manufacturers, composite components manufacturers and users, nondestructive instrumentation manufacturers 3. Safety inspections for airlines and other industries; quality control during fabrication of composite structures.

Patent Information:
*To see the full version of the patent(s), follow the link below, then click on "Images" button.
Country Serial No. Patent No. Issued Date
United States 09/517,957 6,327,921* 12/11/2001


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