Laser-Induced Fluorescence Analytical Technologies. Phase 2
SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INST SAN ANTONIO TX BELVOIR FUELS AND LUBRICANTS RESEARCH FACILITY
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The U.S. Army has a large number of fabric-reinforced elastomer storage tanks, ranging in size from 100 to 200,000 gallons. These tanks are used for storing fuel and other liquids. An acceptable nondestructive inspection technique for determining the condition of these tanks does not exist. The objective of this project was to develop and fabricate a test device for evaluating degradation of elastomers using the technique of laser-induced fluorescence. The present procedure used on these storage tanks is to discard them after they have been in storage for 5 years, even if they have never been in service. A method of nondestructive inspection is needed to inspect these storage tanks, as well as other elastomers in the military inventory. During previous work, it was discovered that the degradation of many polymers is strongly correlated to the laser-induced fluorescence intensity from those materials. Subsequently, Belvoir RDE Center, STRBE-VU, funded a research program to investigate the correlation of laser-induced fluorescence intensities with artificially induced degradation of polyurethane elastomers. As a consequence of the success of that project this follow-on effort was initiated to develop a demonstration-prototype unit. A demonstration-prototype unit has been designed, fabricated, and tested. It has been successfully demonstrated on a limited sample set. The unit was designed so that it could be used on many different materials, thus it has high sensitivity, wide dynamic range, and is very versatile. As with many first version prototypes, these features have been somewhat at the expense of increased size and weight. Further testing on a wide range of elastomers should be done to establish applicability to each material. Laser-Induced Fluorescence, Nondestructive Evaluation, Polyurethane.
- Lasers and Masers