Panel Step/Gap Mismatch Measurement
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
In phase II we will develop a prototype TD-THz step/gap mismatch measurement system. This system will be able to measure the sub-surface ground-plane step and gap dimensions on the seams of panels on the F-35 aircraft. In phase I, we demonstrated the ability of the TD-THz method to measure the dimensions of the ground-plane step and gap through otherwise opaque boots and coatings. The first application of the Phase II prototype will be in the OEM manufacture of the F-35. Later, the step/gap measurement system can be used in a depot environment to set the step and gap of pre-coated replacement panels, and then eventually by Air Force field service personnel. The proposed TD-THz step/gap mismatch system is based on our T-RayTM 4000 TD-THz instrumentation platform. A major new capability to be developed in Phase II will be a hand-held high speed plug-in TD-THz line scanner with which the operator will inspect the seams. The system will acquire a B-scan across a seam and rapidly calculate the step and gap dimensions. The prototype TD-THz step/gap mismatch measurement system will be tested in the factory environment, demonstrating that it can measure the step and gap on all aircraft seam configurations. BENEFIT: Upon successful completion of Phase II, the proposed TD-THz inspection system will provide the Air Force with a highly capable non-destructive, non-contact, single-side inspection method for the determination of subsurface step/gap dimensions on aircraft doors and panels. The Phase II prototype system will be capable of accommodating all configurations required to be measured on the full-scale aircraft, including the various material suites, joint designs, and contours. The system will have additional applicability to other aircraft which use these coatings and boots.
Small Business Information at Submission:
2925 Boardwalk Ann Arbor, MI 48104
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