Abstract

We have demonstrated for the first time, to our knowledge, the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) as an analytical tool for nondestructively characterizing the individual paint layer thickness of multiple layered automotive paints. A graph-based segmentation method was used for automatic analysis of the thickness distribution for the top layers of solid color paints. The thicknesses measured with OCT were in good agreement with the optical microscope and ultrasonic techniques that are the current standard in the automobile industry. Because of its high axial resolution (5.5 μm), the OCT technique was shown to be able to resolve the thickness of individual paint layers down to 11 μm. With its high lateral resolution (12.4 μm), the OCT system was also able to measure the cross-sectional area of the aluminum flakes in a metallic automotive paint. The range of values measured was 3001850  μm2. In summary, the proposed OCT is a noncontact, high-resolution technique that has the potential for inclusion as part of the quality assurance process in automobile coating.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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