1 April 2015 Damage criticality and inspection concerns of composite-metallic aircraft structures under blunt impact
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Abstract
Composite aircraft structures such as fuselage and wings are subject to impact from many sources. Ground service equipment (GSE) vehicles are regarded as realistic sources of blunt impact damage, where the protective soft rubber is used. With the use of composite materials, blunt impact damage is of special interest, since potential significant structural damage may be barely visible or invisible on the structure’s outer surface. Such impact can result in local or non-local damage, in terms of internal delamination in skin, interfacial delamination between stiffeners and skin, and fracture of internal reinforced component such as stringers and frames. The consequences of these events result in aircraft damage, delays, and financial cost to the industry. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the criticality of damage under this impact and provide reliable recommendations for safety and inspection technologies. This investigation concerns a composite-metallic 4-hat-stiffened and 5-frame panel, designed to represent a fuselage structure panel generic to the new generation of composite aircraft. The test fixtures were developed based on the correlation between finite element analyses of the panel model and the barrel model. Three static tests at certain amount of impact energy were performed, in order to improve the understanding of the influence of the variation in shear ties, and the added rotational stiffness. The results of this research demonstrated low velocity high mass impacts on composite aircraft fuselages beyond 82.1 kN of impact load, which may cause extensive internal structural damage without clear visual detectability on the external skin surface.
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D. Zou, C. Haack, P. Bishop, A. Bezabeh, "Damage criticality and inspection concerns of composite-metallic aircraft structures under blunt impact", Proc. SPIE 9437, Structural Health Monitoring and Inspection of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, and Civil Infrastructure 2015, 94370C (1 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2085466; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2085466
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