The use of advanced composite materials in aircraft has drastically increased over the last 2 decades and is now including the production of safety critical parts. Composites suffer from defects, which are considerably different from those found in traditional aerospace materials.
Similarly, Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) inspection techniques required to detect these defects will vary considerably from traditional methods, as the material is of inhomogeneous structure.
The project's objectives have been:
- To develop NDT techniques and sensor systems, which will detect composite specific defects.
- To conduct inspection faster and more accurately by automating NDT techniques and eliminating operator subjectivity. This will enhance safety and increase aircraft availability leading to reduced cost.
- To deliver NDT techniques that have been validated in their individual areas of intended use.
- To increase accuracy, leading to an increased 'Probability of Detection' at a higher confidence level, and to increase safety and reduce instances of catastrophic failure.
The consortium proposes to develop new and novel NDT techniques, sensors and systems for the inspection of advanced composites in aircraft. They are based on ultrasonic (phase array, acoustic camera and air-coupled), X-ray, thermography, resonance and laser shearography NDT methods.
The project will develop a suite of NDT sensors and techniques capable of delivering solutions to the total inspection requirements of the aerospace composite industry.