USQ partners with defense scientists on next-generation aircraft repairs

The collaboration is working to develop an automated method of controlling the curing process in order to produce reliable composite repairs.

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Researchers from Defence Science and Technology (DST, Canberra, Australia) and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ, Darling Heights, Australia) are working on a three-year collaborative project to develop next-generation repairs for composite aircraft structures. DST engaged with USQ researchers from its Centre for Future Materials (CFM), who are focused on out-of-autoclave composite repairs. 
 
Conventional composite repairs often require the damaged part to be removed from the aircraft and repaired using an autoclave. Next generation out-of-autoclave repairs will be able to be performed in-situ using novel vacuum bagging processes, which could lead to lower repair costs and increase aircraft availability.
 
According to CFM Director, Professor Peter Schubel, the research team was world-leading on adopting novel high-resolution 2D pressure sensors, coupled with numerical modeling of composites manufacturing.
 
“Our particular focus is on developing an automated method of controlling the curing process in order to produce reliable repairs,” Professor Schubel says.
 
The approach is said to significantly increase real-time manufacturing information and enables a short loop to optimize the repair process.