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Title: Experimental assessment and implementation of photoelastic tomography
Author: Abrego, Samantha
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 2493
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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3-D photoelasticity is a destructive and time-consuming experimental stress analysis technique that assesses internal stress by the construction of a stress frozen polymeric prototype that is sliced and analysed section by section by 2-D photoelasticity. Non-destructive 3-D internal stress reconstruction, such as Photoelastic Tomography has been the main subject of this research. Photoelastic Tomography can be taken as an optical tomography. However, it is not possible to apply directly the equations used in conventional tomography since the mathematical approach of the Radon equation is just for scalar fields but Photoelastic Tomography intends to obtain a tensor stress field. The directions and values of the principal stresses vary through the thickness of the material which makes it difficult to process and to relate the measured data with the non-linear stress distribution. Szotten, in his thesis ``Limited data problems in X-Ray and polarised light tomography'', proposes a mathematical method for the solution of the stress tensor using Photoelastic Tomography. Numerical results presented in his thesis showed evidence that this mathematical approach could be used to reconstruct the internal stress. This research aims to experimentally assess the mathematics and the tensor stress reconstruction algorithms developed by Szotten to obtain quantitative measurements of the 3-D internal stress in birefringent materials. The research began with a critical audit of an existing rig used in previous preliminary research of Szotten's method. As a result of this audit, essential and considerable improvements were made to the photoelastic tomography apparatus, methodology and software. The assumptions of the mathematical approach require no refraction of the light passing through the specimen, so key developments were made in the refractive index matching procedure within a tolerance of 0.001-2. Szotten's method also requires rotations of the specimen about three different axes. In previous work, this repositioning of the sample was initially carried out manually. In this work, an automated repositioning system and associated control programs were designed, manufactured and commissioned, avoiding contamination of the matching fluid which may introduce noise into the results. The introduction of a new camera to improve the signal to noise ratio in the characteristic parameters was validated by a comparison between Fourier Polarimetry and phase stepping methods. Furthermore, the post-processing of the acquired images was also improved by the development of algorithms that automatically detects the edges of the specimen to cut the unnecessary background information not related to the sample to save computational time. Experimental results in this research showed noise, patterns that did not follow a trend associated with the internal stress and no evidence of the relationship between the signal to noise ratio and the experimental variables tested. The conclusion drawn from this is that Szotten's mathematical model does not agree with experimentation, and the reconstruction algorithms of the Photoelastic Tomography method need further theoretical developments before they can be used in practice.
Supervisor: Tomlinson, Rachel ; Fairclough, Patrick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available