Thermal imaging helps to detect water ingress in airplanes

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Last modified: 9 May 2023

Thermal imaging helps to detect water ingress in airplanes. Composite materials for modern aircraft need to be extremely sturdy and lightweight. These materials are vital to aircraft performance and airworthiness. A structure used in many parts of modern airplanes is the honeycomb. This structure has an appearance much as the honeycomb found in a beehive and is extremely light and strong. As long as they are intact, honeycomb structures offer exceptional weight to strength ratios but it is important that the structure is bonded to the outer skins, of e.g. airplane wings, in a reliable way.
Even with the best bonding process, the bond between the honeycomb material and the sheet material is not perfect. This presents a potentially dangerous problem; water ingress in the honeycomb structure!
With an infrared camera it is possible to search for water ingress in these composite parts of aircrafts.

This video shows the procedure and a live inspection of a Boeing 767 cargo airplane from Star Air Denmark. Many thanks to these guys from Star Air and of course our infrared camera supplier FLIR Systems.

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Written by

Thermografisch Adviesbureau BV

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