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Trans-layer Structural Analysis (TSA) is the latest technology designed for the inspection of vehicle mounted insulated aerial manlifts. 

Figure 1:
TSA Scan of Fiberglass Boom used on a Bucket Truck

TSA is an inspection method that can view the internal structure of a fiberglass boom.  The TSA inspection method uses an imaging technology that allows for easy visualization of internal flaws. 

The gray-scale image in Figure 1 represents the visual representation of a fiberglass sample.  As you can see, the detail of the fiber weaving is apparent in this image.  The dark lines on the left hand side of the image show a series of gel-coat cracks in the structure of the boom.  There are two fiberglass rods mounted in the boom to separate the hydraulic hoses from the leveling system inside the boom.  The mounting holes for these are visible on the scan near the center.  large white area on the right side is a area of debonding between the fiberglass and steel attachment.   

Figure 2:
Colorized TSA Scan of Fiberglass Boom used on a Bucket Truck

TSA also allows for the inspection of any bonding agents used to attach the fiberglass boom to the steel components of the aerial device.  Figure 2 is a colorization of the same inspection scan.  The red areas shown in the image reveals debonding in the attachment matrix between the two materials.  The blue represents areas where moisture has leeched into the internal structure of the boom.  These areas can be monitored over time to determine if significant deterioration is occurring within the boom structure. Finally, the purple indicates areas of high resin content such as the sides of the boom and an area where excessive bonding epoxy was present at the steel to fiberglass mounting.  As you can tell, TSA allows full structural inspection with visual imaging technology. 


TSA does not require that a load stress be applied to the fiberglass boom in order for the inspection to be conducted as is the case with acoustic emission. 

 TSA images provide a hard-copy image of the structure of the fiberglass while acoustic emission gives you data charts and tables.   

TSA allows you to view actual defects within the boom as you can with radiography without the radiation hazards to personnel. 

TSA can detect moisture content within the boom which is something that acoustic emission and radiography can not do.  Moisture is one of the main destructive forces effecting composite materials  such as fiberglass.  Moisture will leech into the fiber bundles an when the weather allows for freezing of this moisture, it expands as ice and causes debonding.  This debonding allows for more spaces that can hold moisture.  As the cycle repeats, the resin matrix is damaged and this reduces the overall structural strength of the fiberglass.


Figure 3:
TSA Scan of a Cracked Fiberglass Boom used on a Bucket Truck

Figure 3 represents a TSA scan of a fiberglass boom that was found to be cracked.  The large white areas located on the left side of the scan are very distinctive and you can even see the fiber weaving on the right side of the scan.  Figure 4 is a colorized 3-D rendering Figure 3.  This makes it very obvious where the the crack is located and what orientation that it lays with regards to the boom structure. 

Figure 4:
3-Dimensional Colorized TSA Scan of a Cracked Fiberglass Boom used on a Bucket Truck

  Finally, TSA provides a permanent record of the condition of the boom.  If the unit is sold and a TSA scan done at that time, you can show proof positive of the structural integrity of the fiberglass at the time of purchase.  This could protect from unnecessary litigation should an accident occur at some later date.

Should you need further information on this please fill out the form below.

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Last modified: 04/09/07.