Restricted Research - Award List, Note/Discussion Page

Fiscal Year: 2018

1339  The University of Texas at Arlington  (74844)

Principal Investigator: Andrew V Makeev

Total Amount of Contract, Award, or Gift (Annual before 2011): $ 400,000

Exceeds $250,000 (Is it flagged?): Yes

Start and End Dates: 9/12/17 - 9/11/20

Restricted Research: YES

Academic Discipline: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Department, Center, School, or Institute: College of Engineering

Title of Contract, Award, or Gift: Integrated Structural Methods Addressing Army Aviation Life Prediction Challenges in Composites

Name of Granting or Contracting Agency/Entity: United States Army Research Laboratory

Program Title: N/A
CFDA Linked: Basic Scientific Research


The Army and Rotorcraft Industry are facing the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) aviation challenge to replace more than 6,300 military vertical lift aircraft over the next 25-50 years. Accurate analysis and prediction methods would reduce development and procurement risk to FVL. In particular, advanced polymeric composites are playing a major role in designing high-performance and lightweight vertical lift structures. However, uncertain rem aining useful life of the composite rotor and airframe structures due to complexity of failure mechanisms and susceptibility to manufacturing irregularities, which may be precursors to structural damage impose risks that cannot be mitigated exclusively by time-consuming and costly experimental iterations. Consistent with the Army vision for zero maintenance platforms, fundamental understanding and models for damage progression are needed to reliably detect damage at early stages and predict progression in complex multi-axial/multi-scale environments. Such models would allow for automatic assessment of the condition of composite structure starting from the factory to structural health monitoring (SHM) based assessment in service. It is worth noting that current state of the art in SHM of composite structures suffers from solution uncertainty or multiplicity of the damage scenarios. Validated structural analysis capturing damage phenomena is essential for developing SHM methodology offering unique solutions. In order to enable validated structural strength and fatigue predictions for larger and complex composite structures up to components we must capture their manufacturing complexity and variability. It is worth noting that the fidelity of the nondestructive inspection (NDI) needed to quantify the smallest defects that would impact structural performance is key to structural diagnostics of aircraft composite parts. However, the fidelity of the traditional NDI methods such as ultrasonics has not been adequate for assessing the condition of composite parts. Such techniques rely on human factor and are impractical for automation needed for the objectivity in the disposition decisions.  AMSL recent work on smaller structural details has been extremely useful in identifying technology gaps and giving us a head start in the development of higher-fidelity NDI technology suitable for large structures. In particular, recent improvement in computing power and advances in X-ray computed tomography (CT) based reconstruction make it possible to develop high-resolution limited-angle (partial) CT technology breaking through the object size limits of X-ray CT and offering the long-sought automation for composite aircraft structures needed by the industry.  A focused research effort, starting with the development and demonstration of the algorithms and software required for enabling high-resolution partial CT capability to handle large composite structures, has a strong potential for enabling much-needed efficient and accurate NDI products, and improved understanding of the failure mechanisms.

Discussion: No discussion notes


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