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Non-destructive analysis of flake properties in automotive paints with full-field optical coherence tomography and 3D segmentation

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Jinke Zhang
  • Bryan M. Williams
  • Samuel Lawman
  • David Atkinson
  • Zijian Zhang
  • Yaochun Shen
  • Yalin Zheng
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>7/08/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Optics Express
Issue number16
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)18614-18628
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Automotive coating systems are designed to protect vehicle bodies from corrosion and enhance their aesthetic value. The number, size and orientation of small metallic flakes in the base coat of the paint has a significant effect on the appearance of automotive bodies. It is important for quality assurance (QA) to be able to measure the properties of these small flakes, which are approximately 10μm in radius, yet current QA techniques are limited to measuring layer thickness. We design and develop a time-domain (TD) full-field (FF) optical coherence tomography (OCT) system to scan automotive panels volumetrically, non-destructively and without contact. We develop and integrate a segmentation method to automatically distinguish flakes and allow measurement of their properties. We test our integrated system on nine sections of five panels and demonstrate that this integrated approach can characterise small flakes in automotive coating systems in 3D, calculating the number, size and orientation accurately and consistently. This has the potential to significantly impact QA testing in the automotive industry.