High Energy Wide Area Blunt Impact (HEWABI) due to ground service equipment can often occur in aircraft structures causing major damages. These Wide Area Impact Damages (WAID) can affect the internal components of the structure, hence are usually not visible nor detectable by typical one-sided NDE techniques and can easily compromise the structural safety of the aircraft. In this study, the development of an NDI method is presented together with its application to impacted aircraft frames. The HEWABI from a typical ground service scenario has been previously tested and the desired type of damages have been generated, so that the aircraft panels could become representative study cases. The need of the aircraft industry for a rapid, ramp-friendly system to detect such WAID is here approached with guided ultrasonic waves (GUW) and a scanning tool that accesses the whole structure from the exterior side only. The wide coverage of the specimen provided by GUW has been coupled to a differential detection approach and is aided by an outlier statistical analysis to be able to inspect and detect faults in the challenging composite material and complex structure. The results will be presented and discussed with respect to the detection capability of the system and its response to the different damage types. Receiving Operating Characteristics curves (ROC) are also produced to quantify and assess the performance of the proposed method. Ongoing work is currently aimed at the penetration of the inner components of the structure, such as shear ties and C-frames, exploiting different frequency ranges and signal processing techniques. From the hardware and tool development side, different transducers and coupling methods, such as air-coupled transducers, are under investigation together with the design of a more suitable scanning technique.
M. Capriotti, H. E. Kim, F. Lanza di Scalea, and H. Kim, "Development of an ultrasonic nondestructive inspection method for impact damage detection in composite aircraft structures," Proc. SPIE 10169, Nondestructive Characterization and Monitoring of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, and Civil Infrastructure 2017, 101691O (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 29, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2258669.
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