A review of microwave testing of glass fibre-reinforced polymer composites

Zhen Li, Arthur Haigh, Constantinos Soutis, Andrew Gibson, Ping Wang

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Microwave non-destructive testing (NDT) has received extensive attention in recent years owing to its advantages of non-contact and one-sided inspection, no need for a coupling medium or sensors attached on the object surface, low power, good repeatability, a relatively easy measurement setup and no ionising radiation hazards. As an alternative method of traditional X-ray imaging and ultrasonic testing, it has been used for monitoring and evaluation of the structural integrity of fibrereinforced polymer composite structures. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the microwave-based techniques for glass fibre composites, including material characterisation, strain sensing, surface profiling, near-field and far-field damage detection. First, the electromagnetic properties of glass fibre composites and the microwave penetration capability associated are thoroughly discussed. Then, based on the detection principles, the microwave NDT methods are classified into five categories: near-field detection with an open-ended probe (coaxial line/waveguide), near-field resonance methods, far-field sensing methods, focusing methods and microwave-based thermography (integration with another NDT method). The experimental setup, applications and limitations of each technique are reviewed in detail. Finally, discussions on the research trends are presented, including more accurate theoretical models, damage classification, use of the RFID technique, automated inspection and use in additive manufacturing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNondestructive testing and evaluation
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2019


  • microwave testing
  • glass fibre
  • composites
  • non-destructive evaluation


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