Objectives and measurable results

The overall objective of ComBoNDT is to develop a quality assurance concept for adhesive bonding of load-critical CFRP primary aircraft structures which is applicable within the whole life cycle of the aircraft, in order to overcome the current limitations regarding certification of composites

Therefore, a detailed approach regarding in-line extended non-destructive testing (ENDT) for CFRP materials with increased technological readiness level (TRL), in-process and post-process, will be established. In contrast to previously funded projects, the focus of ComBoNDT lies on the implementation of already selected techniques, not on the screening of possibly suitable methods. 

The successful developments within ComBoNDT therefore enable:

  • Reliable and reproducible detection of unknown and potentially multiple contaminations on adherend surfaces
  • Reliable and reproducible detection of poor bond quality in bonded adhesive joints
  • Robustness of methods and suitability for field measurements in aircraft manufacturing and repair environments in terms of detection limits and measuring speed
  • NDT technique(s) which are validated in relevant environments (TRL 5 to 6)
  • Certification of CFRP bonding for load-critical primary aircraft structures leading to reduced aircraft weight and fuel consumption as well as to the reduction of costs and time by the use of ENDT

The integration of such ENDT technologies into future adhesive bonding process chains, quality assurance concepts and material testing for maintenance processes will pave the way for safe and reliable integration of lightweight composite structures into the aircraft design. It allows the bonding of complex, lightweight structures and the replacement of rivets in order to overcome the use of CFRP as black metal.

The expected weight savings resulting from an increased implementation of lightweight structures is a measurable result of the project. Since the weight savings have a direct influence on fuel consumption, the decrease of direct operational cost can also be used as an indicator.

The improvement of material testing during manufacturing as well as in ground operations (overhaul, maintenance,etc.) allows for the automation of processes that are performed manually up to now. The resulting time savings (in combination with simultaneously more reliable results) can also be employed to obtain measurable results by comparing the state-of-the-art process with the newly developed techniques. An important step within the project will therefore be the determination and improvement of the performance of the ENDT in terms of speed of inspection and data evaluation (aim: 10min/m2, 3-5 times faster than state-of-the-art).

The aim of increased TRL within ComBoNDT is both, a measurable project result, and a groundbreaking step towards the use of the developed ENDT methods in real application scenarios.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 636494.

This project is endorsed by the European Aeronautics Science Network - EASN.

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