Spaceshuttle Protection Layer
A terahertz axial computed tomography system has been developed that uses time domain measurements in order to form cross-sectional image slices and three-dimensional volume renderings of terahertz-transparent materials. The system can inspect samples as large as 0.0283 m3 (1 ft3) with no safety concerns as for x-ray computed tomography. In this study, the system is evaluated for its ability to detect and characterize flat bottom holes, drilled holes, and embedded voids in foam materials utilized as thermal protection on the external fuel tanks for the Space Shuttle. X-ray micro-computed tomography was also performed on the samples to compare against the terahertz computed tomography results and better define embedded voids. Limits of detectability based on depth and size for the samples used in this study are loosely defined. Image sharpness and morphology characterization ability for terahertz computed tomography are qualitatively described.
Optical Micrograph of Thermal Protection System/Substrate for Future Space Vehicle