WÜRZBURG, GERMANY (June 11, 1:05 p.m. ET) — SKZ (Das Kunstostoff-Zentrum), the plastics institute in Würzburg, is launching two research studies into applications for terahertz waves in the plastics industry.
SKZ hopes the results shall provide a guide of future developments for terahertz system suppliers as well as for the plastics industry, with systematic evaluation of potential testing applications for fiber-reinforced sandwich components as well as for thermoplastics.
Terahertz waves penetrate many electrical isolators and therefore plastics. However, water and electric conductors absorb these waves, SKZ points out.
Measurements with this kind of non-ionizing radiation are contact-free and therefore very suitable for industrial applications, and for foams and components with holes, in contrast to the ultrasonic technique, which is not applicable to such parts.
This comparatively young terahertz technology is therefore predestined for the non-destructive testing of plastics, according to Martin Bastian the head of the SKZ.
Germany's Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology is funding two research projects started in 2012.
One project in collaboration with SKZ's new composites business unit deals with all-electronic terahertz systems, and will focus on fiber-reinforced composites. These composites are increasingly used as a substitute for conventional materials and appear in a lot of applications, as SKZ points out.
All-electronic terahertz systems are characterized by their robustness and high sampling rate and therefore show a significant potential for industrial applications.
SKZ says fiber composites need suitable inspection technologies for quality assurance and component inspection. Due to their relevance for practical applications, a lot of free-form components will be explored rather than academic investigations on planar samples.