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A Rapid Optical Approach to Quantitative Composite Bond Quality Assessment

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-13-P-1209
Agency Tracking Number: N13A-011-0107
Amount: $79,996.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: N13A-T011
Solicitation Number: 2013.A
Solicitation Year: 2013
Award Year: 2013
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2013-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2014-04-30
Small Business Information
4 Fourth Avenue
Burlington, MA -
United States
DUNS: 047627732
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Frank Clark
 Principal Scientist
 (781) 273-4770
Business Contact
 Robert Sundberg
Title: President
Phone: (781) 273-4770
Research Institution
 University of Louisville
 John Kielkopf
580 S Preston St
Louisville, KY 40202-
United States

 (502) 852-5990
 Nonprofit College or University

Composite materials are widely used in aircraft to reduce weight and cost, improve structural performance, and boost fuel efficiency. However, composites are susceptible to adhesive bond quality issues, including kissing bonds which may occur because of initial fabrication or service related issues. Detection of such weakened bonds requires an easily used detection approach to routinely monitor composite health of military aircraft. We propose a solution based on three innovations, including this combination: a flexible movable mechanical bulk wave exciter that may be operated in impulse or chirped mode, and a compact lightweight rapid zooming optical imaging approach that can monitor any area from the complete airframe to a specific joint. We identify regions exhibiting suspicious bond quality by detecting the areas of resonance change or reduced damping, as a weakened bond reveals itself in response to mechanical excitation. This technique, called the Fast Imaging Non-Destructive Inspection Technique (FINDIT), can directly and nondestructively test the mechanical properties of composite material. FINDIT quantitatively measures the associated surface tilt-tip surface changes, and may be automated, removing subjective judgment factors. We envision commercial aircraft application in production and normal hangar maintenance, automotive safety, and other areas of composite application such as boats.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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