Advanced materials such as ceramics, composites, and unusually formed metals or powder metal products are often inhomogeneous and anisotropic. A need exists to determine both global and local material characteristics to insure performance to engineering specifications. NDE holds the potential to provide accurate and precise information regarding material properties. Emphasis in this paper is placed on the description of bulk and surface wave ultrasonic techniques for the determination of effective stiffness coefficients, material homogeneity, and global porosity or fiber volume fraction variations. Local defect characterization is also discussed. Implementation of these advanced bulk and guided wave techniques is considered by way of expert systems and artificial intelligence. The potential utility in an on-line manufacturing environment is also discussed.
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