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- Composite materials are being more widely used today by aerospace, automotive, sports equipment, and a number of other commercial industries because of their advantages over conventional metals. Composites have a high strength-to-weight ratio and can be constructed to meet specific design needs. Composite structures are already in use in secondary parts of the Douglas MD-11 and are planned to be used in the new MD-12X. Plans also exist for their use in primary and secondary structures on the Boeing 777. Douglas proposed MD-XX may also incorporate composite materials into primary structures such as the wings and tail. Use of composites in these structures offers weight savings, corrosion resistance, and improved aerodynamics. Additionally, composites have been used to repair cracks in many B-1Bs where traditional repair techniques were not very effective. Plans have also been made to reinforce all of the remaining B-1s with composite materials. Verification of the structural integrity of composite components is needed to insure safe operation of these aerospace vehicles. One aspect of the use of these composites is their response to fatigue. To track this progression of fatigue in aerospace structures, a convenient method to nondestructively monitor this damage needs to be developed. Traditional NDE techniques used on metals are not easily adaptable to composites due to the inhomogeneous and anisotropic nature of these materials. Finding an effective means of nondestructively monitoring fatigue damage is extremely important to the safety and reliability of such structures. Lamb waves offer one method of evaluating these composite materials. As a material is fatigued, the modulus degrades. Since the Lamb wave velocity can be related to the modulus of the material, an effective tool can be developed to monitor fatigue damage in composites by measuring the velocity of these waves. In this work, preliminary studies have been conducted which monitor fatigue damage in composite samples using strain gage measurements as well as Lamb wave velocity measurements. A description of the test samples is followed by the results of two different measurements of Lamb wave velocity. The first technique is a contact measurement done at a single frequency, while the second involves an immersion study of Lamb waves in which dispersion curves are obtained. The results of the Lamb wave monitoring of fatigue damage is compared to the damage progression measured by strain gages. The final section discusses the results and conclusions.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20040129654.
Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation; Volume 13B; 1261-1266.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
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