Research Thesis Topic
Smart processing of smart aircraft skins
In closed moulding processes such as autoclave and resin transfer moulding (RTM), there is limited realtime feed back to the progression of flow and curing of the resin. Knowledge regarding flow front advancement, and fibre wetting can help in devising control methods for the manufacturing process. Several fibre optic and piezoelectric sensors are placed in the mould and within the laminate to monitor the manufacturing parameters and structure in-service health. All the above-mentioned techniques are costly and add considerably to the overall manufacturing and final part cost. In the proposed study, we will use the graphene coated piezo-resistive fabrics in key aerospace manufacturing processes to monitor important manufacturing parameters, such as, in-situ compaction, vacuum levels, extent of mould-filling, gelation, and degree of cure. This novel technology can improve cycle times through faster cure cycles and help reduce product flaws in the composite produced through autoclave prepreg moulding, and out-of-autoclave resin injection processes, including VARTM. The longterm goal is to utilse this low cost sensing network to create smart structures to monitor processing conditions and for in-service applications such as identifying the severity and location of barely visible impact damage (BVID), lightning strike protection and anti-icing capabilities of the skins.
- Centre for Future Materials
- Aerospace Engineering
- Materials Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
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