The Concept

The SAFEWIRE concept is to adapt Long Range Ultrasonic Testing techniques, currently used on pipes; to the inspection of aircraft wiring. This presents both scientific and technological challenges. The transmission of ultrasound in a bundle of wires comprising both plastic insulation and metal conductor is clearly far more complex and challenging than that in a simple metallic pipe.

With this background, the key outputs of the SAFEWIRE project are:

  1. Ultrasonic transducer or transducer arrays capable of injecting ultrasound into a bundle of multi-strand cables.
  2. An ultrasonic pulser/receiver with sufficient power to excite these transducers and to transmit ultrasound through the attenuative insulation.
  3. An inspection range of 10m. Whilst some harnesses are much longer than this, a range of 10m will enable harnesses to be inspected where they pass behind structural components and are therefore inaccessible for inspection by other means.
  4. Software to control the pulser/receiver, to enable the position of any flaw detected to be determined and to interpret the signal in terms of flaw size and nature.

Fig 1: Schematic of SAFEWIRE concept