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News

Pioneering aerospace test study to evaluate defects within composite structures

Element Materials Technology : 14 February, 2014  (Company News)
A team of materials testing experts from Element Materials Technology’s laboratory based in Hitchin, UK, has completed a study to demonstrate the feasibility of a state-of-the-art technique to instantly evaluate defects within composite aerospace structures.
Element’s Engaged Experts were part of a consortium that comprised participants from industry-leading names, including Spirit Aerospace, LMS SamTech and Wavelength NDT. The team successfully demonstrated proof-of-concept to automatically integrate NDT inspections into damage tolerance evaluations for composite materials. This required the development of new technology to ultrasonically scan composite aerospace structures, which could then interrogate scanned information and digitally map data directly into a finite element analysis code, allowing for the instant evaluation of any defects.
 
The results of the study have wide-ranging implications for Primes and supply chain partners, who could immediately determine the viability of parts during the manufacturing process and streamline operations. The technology can also be applied in-service, to evaluate whether component damage should affect the status of an aircraft and whether it can continue to operate or if it requires repairs.
 
Conducted over a period of 18 months, the proof-of-concept project was partially funded by the British Government’s Technology Strategy Board, which invests in technologies with the greatest scope to improve business, the economy and society.
 
Rick Sluiters, Element’s VP of Europe Operations, says: “Though not yet commercially available, this breakthrough is significant and exciting news for the Aerospace industry. The capability to integrate these two materials tests could provide a real competitive advantage to our partners seeking production and operational efficiencies.
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