University of Manchester

Non-Destructive Evaluation, Inspection and Testing of Primary Aeronautical Composite Structures Using Phase Contrast X-Ray Imaging

Matthieu Gresil
Project Completed

Scientific Case

EVITA (Non-Destructive EValuation, Inspection and Testing of Primary Aeronautical Composite Structures Using Phase Contrast X-Ray Imaging) is aimed at bringing Grating-based Phase Contrast X-ray imaging technology to Non-Destructive Evaluation and Inspection of primary and/or complex aeronautical composite structures, during the design, manufacturing and assembly processes, as well as during the repair and re-use procedure of key components. This work is performed with the support of the academic partners (National Technical University of Athens and University of Manchester) and of the industrial partners (Dassault Aviation, Centre suisse d'électronique et de microtechnique (CSEM), and GMI Aero).
Based on the review of the design, manufacture, assembly, NDT and repair procedures applicable in Aeronautics components made of composite materials, a Grating-based Phase Contrast X-Ray imaging demonstrator will be developed to inspect large composite components with the following goals: (i) increase the level of detectability of defects in composite structures; (ii) reduce the amount of defects that, up to now, were very difficult or impossible to be detected using the standard inspection methods (e.g. ultrasound-based methods),; (iii) increase the level of NDT process reliability for safety critical composite structures.
Following the initial development process, selection and manufacturing of composite specimens with actual and/or artificially induced flaws will be performed, followed by an exhaustive and extensive testing and measurements campaign, using the proposed innovative methodology, in order to validate and benchmark it against standard NDT methods (Infrared-thermography, phased array, C-scan). Finally, taking advantage of the inputs from the industrial partners with a vast experience in the whole chain of aircraft production and operations, a roadmap for the development and subsequent certification of both stationary and portable Phase Contrast X-Ray Imaging prototypes will be defined.
Finally it is expected that the proposed novel non-destructive methodology will eventually help to achieve the goals of reduction of aircraft weight, through enabling reduction of defects threshold accepted in primary composite structures, thus resulting in the application of lower safety factors in the design of composite components. The subsequent decrease in fuel consumption will contribute both to the reduction of aircraft operational cost and to the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Experiment Design

Estimation of Size of Features & Required Resolution: features to support CFRP with the size of 250x200x4mm and 250x200x20mm with a resolution of 10-15 micron voxel size required
Scanners and Rigs
Nikon Custom 320kV Bay
Not Required

Sample & Safety

Sample Description (Material; Size, etc): Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) panels; 250x200x4-20mm3

Number of Samples: 8 samples:
1. CFRP (250x200x4mm3) with less than 2 % of porosity;
2. CFRP (250x200x20mm3) with less than 2 % of porosity;
3. CFRP (250x200x4mm3) with less than 5 % of porosity;
4. CFRP (250x200x20mm3) with less than 5 % of porosity;
5. CFRP (250x200x4mm3) with more than 5 % of porosity;
6. CFRP (250x200x20mm3) with more than 5 % of porosity
7. CFRP (250x200x4mm3) with matrix cracks
8. CFRP (250x200x20mm3) with matrix cracks
The last two specimens (with matrix cracks) will be scanned twice, without and with dye penetration ((i) 250g zinc iodide; (ii) 80 ml distilled water; (iii) 80 ml isopropyl alcohol; (iv) 1 ml Kodak photo flaw)
Low Hazard

Scan Records

Project Report