Additive manufacture of metal components is recognised as a future technique to make large numbers of components some of which may be relatively complex. Quality control of the layered structure is essential in critical components.
Ideally this is carried out layer by layer using non-destructive (NDT) techniques as the metal is deposited , to avoid rejection of completed components. Eddy current, laser ultrasonics and laser thermography have been initially identified as methods for carrying out inspection in-line although others may be added in time. In addition, X-Ray tomography methods can be used to assess completed components for comparison.
The selective melting and laser deposition additive methods for producing components also provide different challenges.
NDT methods are typically very specific for materials, geometries, defect types and defect morphologies therefore there is a wide range of fundamental study needed to develop NDT techniques and to provide a knowledge of the optimal techniques to address individual problems.