Abstract

A contact-free, nondestructive laser photothermal radiometric instrumentation technique was developed to meet industrial demand for on-line steel hardness inspection and quality control. A series of industrial steel samples, flat or curvilinear, with different effective hardness case depths ranging between 0.21 and 1.78mm were measured. The results demonstrated that three measurement parameters (metrics) extracted from fast swept-sine photothermal excitation and measurements, namely, the phase minimum frequency fmin, the peak or trough frequency width W, and the area S, are complementary for evaluating widely different ranges of hardness case depth: fmin is most suitable for large case depths, and W and S for small case depths. It was also found that laser beam angular inclination with respect to the surface plane of the sample strongly affects hardness measurement resolution and that the phase frequency maximum is more reliable than the amplitude maximum for laser beam focusing on the sample surface.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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