Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation

Publication Date



Burlington, VT


Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is a material increasingly used for fabricating helmet and body armor. In this work, plate specimens consolidated from thin fiber sheets in series 3124 and 3130 were examined with ultrasound, X-ray and terahertz radiation. Ultrasonic through-transmission scans using both air-coupled and immersion modes revealed that the 3130 series material generally had much lower attenuation than the 3124 series, and that certain 3124 plates had extremely high attenuation. Due to the relatively low inspection frequencies used, pulse-echo immersion ultrasonic testing could not detect distinct flaw echoes from the interior. To characterize the nature of the defective condition that was responsible for the high ultrasonic attenuation, terahertz radiation in the time-domain spectroscopy mode were used to image the flaws. Terahertz scan images obtained on the high attenuation samples clearly showed a distribution of a large number of defects, possibly small planar delaminations, throughout the volume of the interior. Their precise nature and morphology are to be verified by optical microscopy of the sectioned surface.


Copyright 2012 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.

This article appeared in AIP Conference Proceedings 1430 (2012): 1168–1175 and may be found at

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American Institute of Physics




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