Photothermal Porosity Estimation in CFRP by the Time-of-Flight of Virtual Waves

Holger Plasser, Günther Mayr, Gregor Thummerer, Günther Hendorfer, Peter Burgholzer, Zoltán Major

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Porosity is an unavoidable defect in carbon fiber reinforced polymers and has noticeable effects on mechanical properties since gas filled voids weaken the epoxy matrix. Pulsed thermography is advantageous because it is a non-contacting, non-destructive and fast photothermal testing method that allows the estimation of material parameters. Using the Virtual Wave Concept for thermography data, ultrasonic evaluation methods are applicable. In this work, the pulse-echo method for Time-of-Flight measurements is used, whereby the determined Time-of-Flight is directly related to the thermal diffusion time of the examined material. We introduce a signal-to-noise dependent approach, the optimum evaluation time, for evaluating only relevant time ranges which contain information of heat diffusion. After the validation of the method for heterogeneous materials, effective medium theories can be used for quantitative porosity estimation from the estimated diffusion time. This model-based approach for porosity estimation delivers more accurate results for transmission and reflection configuration measurements compared to thermographic state-of-the-art methods. The results are validated by X-ray computed tomography reference measurements on a wide range of different porous carbon fiber reinforced plastic specimens with different number of plies and varying porosity contents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
JournalJournal of Nondestructive Evaluation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Active thermography
  • Carbon fiber reinforced plastic
  • Heterogeneous material
  • Photothermal technique
  • Porosity estimation
  • Virtual wave concept


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