Read our paper in the Journal of Instrumentation
Through the piezospectroscopic effect, certain photo-luminescent materials, once excited with a laser, produce spectral emissions which are sensitive to the stress or strain that the material experiences. A system that utilizes the piezospectroscopic effect for non-contact stress detection over a material’s surface can capture important information on the evolution of mechanical response under various conditions. Therefore, the components necessary for piezospectroscopic mapping and analysis have now been integrated into a versatile and transportable system that can be used with photo-luminescent materials in any load frame or on a variety of structures. This system combines compact hardware components such as a portable laser source, fiber optics, spectrograph, charge-coupled device (CCD), and an X-Y-Z stage (with focusing capabilities) with a series of data analysis algorithms capable of analyzing and outputting high resolution photo-luminescent (PL) maps on-site. Through a proof of concept experiment using a compressed polycrystalline alumina sample with sharp machined corners, this system successfully captured high resolution PL maps with a step size of 28.86 μm/pixel and located high stress concentrations in critical areas, which correlated closely with the results of a finite element model. This work represents an important step in advancing the portability of piezospectroscopy for in-situ and non-contact stress detection. The instrumentation developed here has strong implications for the future of non-destructive evaluation and non-invasive structural health monitoring.