Open Access

Enhanced Eddy Current Techniques for Detection of Surface-Breaking Cracks in Aircraft Structures


Well-timed detection of the defects (e.g., fatigue cracks and corrosive damages) in aircraft structures is the question of vital importance. Periodic in-service non-destructive inspection (NDI) is necessary to prevent expensive aircraft breakdowns during in-service life. Eddy current (EC) NDI method have many advantages for in-service aircraft inspection due to high mobility and the possibility to detect fatigue cracks without direct contact with the inspected surface (even through a protective coating without removal). Last decades some enhanced EC techniques were developed for aircraft in-service inspection in the Karpenko Physico-Mechanical Institute of National Academy of Sciences (Lviv) in collaboration with Ukrainian and foreign aircraft companies.

Proposed earlier EC efficiency coefficient was applied for the selection of the ferrite-core EC probe parameters. Investigations concerned with the crack detectability for single-coil EC probes of different sizes were carried out to improve the inspection procedures. The sensitivity of the developed single-coil EC probe was experimentally investigated. The possibility to distinguish the signals associated with detected defect and lift-off was shown. The new inspection procedure was proposed for full suppression of the noise concerned with the rivet edge influence.

The high-frequency EC flaw detector of Leotest VD 3.03 type based on self-generator mode and miniature single-coil EC probes application was developed for detection of the surface-breaking fatigue cracks. The original scheme of double-circuit self-generator with intermittent oscillations was invented and investigated. The pulse-repetition frequency of high-frequency oscillations was used as an informative parameter. The important feature of the developed self-generating scheme is the effective suppression of the lift-off influence (the changes of the clearance between the EC probe and the inspected object surface during the scanning).

Developed EC flaw detectors of Leotest VD 3.03 type and inspection procedures were successfully implemented into the maintenance practice for detection of the fatigue cracks initiated in the wing and the fuselage structures and aviation engines in many companies such as ANTONOV AIRCRAFT, Lviv State Aircraft Repair Plant, Konotop aircraft repair plant «AVIAKON», Ukrainian International Airlines, MOTOR-SICH, State Enterprise “IVCHENKO-PROGRESS”, etc.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Engineering, Introductions and Overviews, other, Geosciences, Materials Sciences, Physics