Multifunctional Composite for Enhanced NDE, SHM, and Stealth

UAH-P-14012-Multifunctional Composite for Enhanced NDE, SHM and Stealth

Docket: UAH-P-14012


Bonds, joints, and complex contours make inspection of current composite structures difficult. Having a composite structure that facilitates inspection of materials and workmanship could significantly improve the safety and reliability of composite structures.

Researchers at UAH have developed a method for fabricating composite panels that includes a microwave excitable thermal layer(s) that is cured within the structure for thermographic examination. These structures are designed to be multifunctional in that the incorporated layer is both a radar absorbing material and a load bearing structure.  The radar-absorption layer is optimized for the composite substrate in question and can have multiple recipes.

With this new method, a planar heat wave is created and conducted through the panel uniformly unless disturbed by damage. Uniform heating of the thermal layer(s) allows for curved and complex contours to be more easily inspected. Also, this technology allows for large areas of the structures to be examined fast and all at once.

The panels with the incorporated layer(s) can improve the current state of the composites by improving ease of inspection and damage detection while also absorbing radar and reducing the reflected signal from the composites. This will result in safer structures that are more easily maintained.


  • Thermographic inspections of ceramic matrix composites, polymer matrix composites, and even metal matrix and metal panel composites


  • Improves the safety and reliability of composite structures
  • Results in easily maintained composite structures
  • Inspectable with thermography
  • Quicker examinations
  • Uniformed heating
  • Better thermographic resolution


  • State of Development: Proof of concept
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Proprietary