The detection technique of component defects is currently only realized to detect offline defects and online surface defects during automated fiber placement (AFP). The characteristics of stress waves can be effectively applied to identify and detect internal defects in material structure. However, the correlation mechanism between stress waves and internal defects remains unclear during the AFP process. This paper proposes a novel experimental method to test stress waves, where continuous loading induced by process itself is used as an excitation source without other external excitation. Twenty-seven groups of thermosetting prepreg laminates under different processing parameters are manufactured to obtain different void content. In order to quantitatively estimate the void content in the prepreg structure, the relation model between the void content and ultrasonic attenuation coefficient is revealed using an A-scan ultrasonic flaw detector and photographic methods by optical microscope. Furthermore, the high-frequency noises of stress waves are removed using Haar wavelet transform. The peaks, the Manhattan distance and mean stress during the laying process are analyzed and evaluated. Partial conclusions in this paper could provide theoretical support for online real-time detection of internal defects based on stress wave characteristics.
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