Location

La Jolla, CA

Start Date

1-1-1991 12:00 AM

Description

Designers are turning to thick fiber reinforced composites, with increasing success, in order to meet the unique structural requirements which arise within the aerospace industry. These composites offer many superior properties, especially in the design of solid rocket motor cases, where there is a tremendous potential for advantage in strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios over conventional materials [1,2]. The increased use of thick fiber reinforced composites presents quite a challenge to the NonDestructive Evaluation (NDE) community. To inspect these materials, conventional NDE techniques must be modified and/or new techniques must be developed to permit interrogation of the full material thickness and adjacent bondlines. Thick fiber reinforced composites exhibit a degree of anisotropy that is orders of magnitude above that of previously employed structural materials (i.e., metals). This anisotropy stems not only from the basic construction of the composite (oriented fibers imbedded within a matrix), but also from what are currently considered “acceptable flaws” within the material (varying degrees of delamination, matrix cracking, porosity, etc.). Successful NDE requires that one be able to distinguish the signals from these “acceptable flaws” from those deemed unacceptable. For the detection of some types of flaws, conventional techniques can be applied to composites with only slight modification, whereas for others, new techniques must be developed. For instance, recently, a large (expensive) solid rocket motor segment sustained an accidental impact. Standard ultrasonic inspection techniques successfully revealed delaminations between a number of layers in the composite case beneath the point of contact. Structural analysis, however, indicated that additional information regarding the degree of fiber breakage was needed. Unfortunately, since no NDE technique was available to assess the degree of fiber breakage, the contractor had to assume the worst and, consequently, scrap the motor.

Book Title

Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation

Volume

10B

Chapter

Chapter 6: Engineered Materials

Section

"Thick" Composites

Pages

1591-1597

DOI

10.1007/978-1-4615-3742-7_59

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

NDE of Thick Composites in the Aerospace Industry — An Overview

La Jolla, CA

Designers are turning to thick fiber reinforced composites, with increasing success, in order to meet the unique structural requirements which arise within the aerospace industry. These composites offer many superior properties, especially in the design of solid rocket motor cases, where there is a tremendous potential for advantage in strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios over conventional materials [1,2]. The increased use of thick fiber reinforced composites presents quite a challenge to the NonDestructive Evaluation (NDE) community. To inspect these materials, conventional NDE techniques must be modified and/or new techniques must be developed to permit interrogation of the full material thickness and adjacent bondlines. Thick fiber reinforced composites exhibit a degree of anisotropy that is orders of magnitude above that of previously employed structural materials (i.e., metals). This anisotropy stems not only from the basic construction of the composite (oriented fibers imbedded within a matrix), but also from what are currently considered “acceptable flaws” within the material (varying degrees of delamination, matrix cracking, porosity, etc.). Successful NDE requires that one be able to distinguish the signals from these “acceptable flaws” from those deemed unacceptable. For the detection of some types of flaws, conventional techniques can be applied to composites with only slight modification, whereas for others, new techniques must be developed. For instance, recently, a large (expensive) solid rocket motor segment sustained an accidental impact. Standard ultrasonic inspection techniques successfully revealed delaminations between a number of layers in the composite case beneath the point of contact. Structural analysis, however, indicated that additional information regarding the degree of fiber breakage was needed. Unfortunately, since no NDE technique was available to assess the degree of fiber breakage, the contractor had to assume the worst and, consequently, scrap the motor.