Carbon fiber reinforced composites are widely used in the aerospace industry, due to their low weight and high strength. Porosity often occurs during the manufacturing of composite structures, which can compromise the structural integrity of the part and affect its mechanical properties. In the aerospace industry a typical requirement for structural components is for the porosity content to be kept below 2%. Non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques are used to estimate the porosity content in composite components, the most common being ultrasonic attenuation and X-ray computed tomography (CT).

Planar Edge Illumination X-ray Phase Contrast Imaging (EI XPCI) was used to quantify the porosity content in woven carbon fiber reinforced composite plates with porosity ranging between 0.7% and 10.7%. A new metric was introduced, the standard deviation of the differential phase (STDVDP) signal, which represents the variation of inhomogeneity in the plates for features of a scale equal to or above the system resolution (here 12μm). The SDTVDP was found to have a very high correlation with porosity content estimated from matrix digestion and ultrasonic attenuation, hence providing a promising new methodology to quantify porosity in composite plates.

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