Web-core sandwich panels are a typical lightweight structure utilized in a variety of fields, such as naval, aviation, aerospace, etc. Welding is considered as an effective process to join the face panel to the core panel from the face panel side. However, it is difficult to locate the joint position (i.e., the position of core panel) due to the shielding of the face panel. This paper studies a weld position detection method based on X-ray from the face panel side for aluminum web-core sandwich panels used in aviation and naval structures. First, an experimental system was designed for weld position detection, able to quickly acquire the X-ray intensity signal backscattered by the specimen. An effective signal processing method was developed to accurately extract the characteristic value of X-ray intensity signals representing the center of the joint. Secondly, an analytical model was established to calculate and optimize the detection parameters required for detection of the weld position of a given specimen by analyzing the relationship between the backscattered X-ray intensity signal detected by the detector and the parameters of the detection system and specimen during the detection process. Finally, several experiments were carried out on a 6061 aluminum alloy specimen with a thickness of 3 mm. The experimental results demonstrate that the maximum absolute error of the detection was 0.340 mm, which is sufficiently accurate for locating the position of the joint. This paper aims to provide the technical basis for the automatic tracking of weld joints from the face panel side, required for the high-reliability manufacturing of curved sandwich structures.
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