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Proceedings Paper

Nondestructive inspection of bonded composite doublers for aircraft
Author(s): Dennis P. Roach; David Moore; Phillip D. Walkington
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Paper Abstract

One of the major thrusts established under the FAA's National Aging Aircraft Research Program is to foster new technologies associated with civil aircraft maintenance. Recent DOD and other government developments in the use of bonded composite doublers on metal structures has supported the need for research and validation of such doubler applications on US certificated airplanes. Composite doubler technology is rapidly maturing and shows promise of cost savings on aging aircraft. While there have been numerous studies and military aircraft installations of composite doublers, the technology has not been certified for use on commercial aircraft. Before the use of composite doublers can be accepted by the civil aviation industry, it is imperative that methods be developed which can quickly and reliably assess the integrity of the doubler. In this study, a specific composite application was chosen on an L-1011 aircraft in order to focus the tasks on application and operation issues. Primary among inspection requirements for these doublers is the identification of disbonds, between the composite laminate and aluminum parent material, and delaminations in the composite laminate. Surveillance of cracks or corrosion in the inspection (NDI) method can inspect for every flaw type, therefore it is important to be aware of available NDI techniques and to properly address their capabilities and limitations. This paper reports on a series of NDI tests which have been conducted on laboratory test structures and on a fuselage section cut from a retired L-1011 aircraft. Specific challenges, unique to bonded composite doubler applications, will be highlighted. In order to quickly integrate this technology into existing aircraft maintenance depots, the use of conventional NDI, ultrasonics, x-ray, and eddy current, is stressed. The application of these NDI technique to composite doublers and the results from test specimens, which were loaded to provide a changing flaw profile, are presented in this paper. The development of appropriate inspection calibration standards will also be discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 November 1996
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 2945, Nondestructive Evaluation of Aging Aircraft, Airports, and Aerospace Hardware, (14 November 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.259105
Show Author Affiliations
Dennis P. Roach, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
David Moore, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Phillip D. Walkington, Sandia National Labs. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2945:
Nondestructive Evaluation of Aging Aircraft, Airports, and Aerospace Hardware
Raymond D. Rempt; Alfred L. Broz, Editor(s)

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