High definition fiber optic sensing will play a major role in helping the aerospace industry continue its transition to advanced lightweight composites. Composite materials, with their unique properties, require a more thorough design validation at every stage of the structural integrity building block process.
Structural airframe testing
Confidence in design and faster certification
The use of HD-FOS throughout the building block testing process will result in better design tools, a tighter manufacturing process and early identification of redesign. Aircraft designers will enter the final certification testing with higher confidence in the design. The tenfold improvement over traditional strain gage installation time will reduce certification costs.
Validating models and testing damage tolerance
HD-FOS with its ability to provide a strain measurement along every millimeter of fiber is the perfect solution for validating structural models across a wide range of environmental conditions, particularly in areas of high stress concentration. The high density data provided by fiber is an equally perfect analytical tool for understanding crack initiation and propagation.
Understanding variability in new assembly processes
Transitioning away from metals to new advanced materials will mean new joining methods and methods of assembly. Both of these will introduce new sources of variation which will impact the quality of parts produced. HD-FOS can help locate and characterize the high strain gradients and stress concentration points that may result from these new fabrication methods. The variability in these new processes can be quantified and then appropriately factored into the design and manufacturing process.
Structural validation of the basic building blocks
The elements are the first building blocks of the aircrafts structure and the first opportunity to validate predicted strains and stresses versus actual. Even the most basic structural member will have machinings, joints and areas of stress concentration. Using composite materials will only add an additional level of uncertainty and increase the need for thorough validation of engineering models.
A full characterization of material properties
Structural integrity begins with a full characterization of material properties. HD-FOS with its ability to provide a full field view of strain, can provide the material data aircraft designers need to build accurate models and avoid redesigns late in the development cycle.