The paper presents an application of laser spot thermography for damage detection in ceramic samples with surface breaking cracks. The measurement technique is an active thermographic approach based on an external heat delivery to a test sample, by means of a laser pulse, and signal acquisition by an infrared camera. Damage detection is based on the analysis of surface temperature distribution near the exciting laser spot. The technique is nondestructive, non-contact and allows for full-field measurements. Surface breaking cracks are a very common type of damage in ceramic materials that are introduced in the manufacturing process or during the service period. This paper briefly discusses theoretical background of laser spot thermography, describes the experimental test rig and signal processing methods involved. Damage detection results obtained with laser spot thermography are compared with reference measurements obtained with vibrothermography. This is a different modality of active thermography, that has been previously proven effective for this type of damage. We demonstrate that both measurement techniques can be effectively used for damage detection and quality control applications of ceramic materials.
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