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TECHNOLOGY

by Howard Fein

Holographic Interferometry: Nondestructive tool
holographic interferometry gives an accuracy better than a half wavelength (about 10 millionths of an inch), and both qualitative and quantitative inforBeam splitter mation can be derived Object mirror from the fringe patterns. This allows us Laser Reference to look at the effects mirror Lensing of vibration, temperature, stress and strain, Image a nd ot her p hysical processing forces in an entirely Video camera nondestructive way. A powerful feature of holographic interferHologram ometry is that information i s obtained over the entire illumiHolographic Object camera nated surface of the under test object being studied Video monitor as a full and continuou s field, wh ich is Figure 1. Holographic interferometry setup important in underholography make use of its ability to record standing what is happening to the object as two slightly different scenes and display the a whole. minute differences between them. This powerful technique, called interferometry, Interferometry is an invaluble aid in design, testing, quality Holographic interferometry is used in control, and analysis (Figure 1). Holographvibration and modal analysis, structural ic techniques are nondestructive, realtime, analysis, composite-materials and adhesive and definitive in allowing the identification testing, stress and strain evaluation, and of vibrational modes, displacements, and flow, volume/shape, and thermal analysis. motion geometries. All these applications derive from one or If the object under study is changed or more of the three basic methods of applied disturbed in some way during the hologram holographic interferometry: real-time, mulexposure or from one exposure to the next, tiexposure, and time-average holography. then a pattern of “fringes” will appear on Interferometric nondestructive testing can the image itself, making the object look be accomplished with either continuous or striped. These fringes really represent maps pulsed lasers of almost all wavelengths. of the surface displacement caused by the Continuous lasers are ideal for real-time force or stress that disturbed the object. studies of displacement and motion. Pulsed Such a displacement map represents an lasers can be synchronized with motion and extremely sensitive picture of the actual also can record holograms of extremely fast motion the object has experienced, with a transient phenomena. single fringe contour representing lines of Real-time holography allows one to equal displacement. observe instantaneously the effects of Holograms can record motions and disminute changes in displacement on, or in, placements, deformations and bends, and an object as some stress affects it. This is expansions and contractions on virtually done by superimposing a hologram of an any object. The typical optical laser used in object over the object itself while it is being hile holography is often used to obtain recreations of 3-dimensional objects, many industrial applications of subjected to some small force or stress. Multiexposure holography creates a hologram by using two or sometimes more exposures. The first exposure shows an object in an undisturbed state. Subsequent exposures, recorded on the same image, are made while the object is subjected to some stress. The resulting image depicts the difference between the two states. The third technique, t i m e - a v e r a g e holography, involves creating a hologram while the object is subjected to some periodic forcing function. This yields a dramatic visual image of the vibration pattern. All these techniques reveal the shape, direction, and magnitude of the stressinduced displacements in the structure under study. An important key to holographic interferometry’s success is that it allows the use of very low-level, nondestructive stress to gather data that once required destruction of the material. Holography solved an expensive bonding problem for a major defense contractor. Titanium and aluminum were bonded together with a special thin rubber layer to create a large “sandwich.” Conventional tests, such as X-rays and ultrasound, could not show if the bonding was complete because the materials and thicknesses were
Holographic image of a correctly bonded structure (Figure 2, top) contrasts with irregularities in the fringe pattern caused by defects in a poorly bonded structure (Figure 3).

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The Industrial Physicist

SEPTEMBER 1997 American Institute of Physics

Holographic It is easy to observe the slightest structural analysis of the circuitboard vibrations found defo rma tio ns caused b y t emperat ur e that the microprocessors experienced a very changes in components such as circuitlarge vibrational stress during operation. boards and mechanical housings.S. method u sed that successfully identified flawed and damaged so different. great stress. Navy torpedo. ing methods inconclusive. If they do not. microchips. left) shows corentire aircraft and spacecraft. then the sonar assembly will typically overHolographic images of modal patterns on a vibrat. Holography was the only test determine the best design to ensure stability. offered parts in a sonar system used in a Navy torpecomplete visualization of debonds. A particular large microproces. and successful Holographic testing helped determine the assembly of systems that will experience best design of some rocket guidance fins. used in an airborne system. a uniquely stressful enviroment. and irregularities in the assemblies (Figures A major automotive manufacturer uses 2 and 3). Holographic interferometry is a The high speeds of even small rockets powerful ally in the field of nondestructive requires that the guiding fins open and stay testing and inspection. a defense contractor used holography to study Cleveland-based firm specializing in holohow fin parts behaved while vibrating (Figgraph ic interfero metry app lications ures 4 and 5).heat and cause catastrophic failure by burning or melting internal ing rocket guidence fin (Figures 4 and 5) helped parts. A major tist of the Polar is Research Group. rectly distributed stress on a sonar system used in These sophisticated tests have become useful in developing quia U. been observed with holography. This resulted in the successful (polarisrg@aol.could show how motors generate noise durraphy to solve the mystery of “exploding” ing use and how the noise is transmitted. Holography. The aerospace industry. however. stable during flight. do (Figures 6 and 7). stronger materials. l ighter an d caused by flawed internal parts. Figure 7 reveals distortions et er mach inery .results of ongoing chemical reactions have out corrected the problem. If any of the individual components are damaged or flawed.com).This pointed to design modifications that sor chip regularly shattered on circuitboards have led to quieter motors. design of fins that snap open and remain sta- 39 The Industrial Physicist . This enabled the company to holography to analyze the source of noise in redesig n and ensure 100% bonding on electrical motors. Even the Slight modifications in the component lay. Ele ment s o f advanced naval sonar units must operate perfectly. and many other commercial and defenserelated industries rely on holographic interferometry to investigate and test everything from microscopic computer chips and circuits to automotive components and even large sections of Uniform fringe pattern (Figure 6. automotive manufacturers. vibrations Howard Fein is president and chief scienwill tear the fins off the rocket body. flaws. It found conventional testshipped products. but holography An aviation manufacturer turned to holog.Technology ble during flight.