Flaw detector for testing composite aircrafts

August 22, 2017, Tomsk Polytechnic University
Thermal flaw prototype detector. Credit: Tomsk Polytechnic University

A thermal flaw detector developed at Tomsk Polytechnic University will be used in the manufacturing of a new aircraft to replace the AN-2. The new model fully consists of composite materials and is developed by the Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute S. A. Chaplygin (SibNIA), Novosibirsk, Russia.

The thermal flaw detector developed at TPU allows technicians to detect structural damage to both during manufacture and operation. The development involves an advanced set of data processing algorithms, including thermal tomography and defectometry. Recently, it was exhibited at the 13th International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2017.

"The aircraft is made of , mainly of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). Manufacturers wanted to install non-destructive testing components for the construction of the aircraft. However, this caused some difficulties, since the methods established in Russia are mainly designed for metal structures. Conventional testing methods like X-rays are appropriate for metals, but they are either not suitable for composites at all, or suitable only for certain modifications. Therefore, the manufacturers faced a problem related to the testing methods they could put into the technological plan. The ultrasonic method will be used in any case, but apart from it specialists made a decision to use the thermal testing method developed at TPU," says laboratory head Vladimir Vavilov.

The operation of the TPU facility is based on the NDT infrared thermographic method for the detection of damage in composites used in the aerospace industry. Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier widely deploy this method, which is still not common in Russia.

"At MAKS, we presented a flaw detector mainly intended for the conditions of hangars (when panels are taken off from the aircraft) or for one-sided testing (directly on the aircraft itself). During production, there is an opportunity to turn panels, to put them optimally, to get them from the other side, and so on. Currently, we are designing a modular flaw that can be modified to meet production needs," says the scientist, adding that the exit trial of the method is planned for October 2017.

Explore further: Decreasing the mass of aircraft with polymer composites

Related Stories

Decreasing the mass of aircraft with polymer composites

February 9, 2017

Members of the Department of Chemistry of Lomonosov Moscow State University have created unique polymer matrices for polymer composites based on novel phthalonitrile monomers. The materials are stronger than metals, which ...

Virtual testing gives lightweight planes lift-off

December 14, 2009

Monash University aeronautical engineers are working with the world's leading aerospace company to fast-track the design and construction of a new generation of super lightweight and efficient passenger airplanes.

Recommended for you

1 in 3 Michigan workers tested opened fake 'phishing' email

March 16, 2018

Michigan auditors who conducted a fake "phishing" attack on 5,000 randomly selected state employees said Friday that nearly one-third opened the email, a quarter clicked on the link and almost one-fifth entered their user ...

Origami-inspired self-locking foldable robotic arm

March 15, 2018

A research team of Seoul National University led by Professor Kyu-Jin Cho has developed an origami-inspired robotic arm that is foldable, self-assembling and also highly-rigid. (The researchers include Suk-Jun Kim, Dae-Young ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.