Aircraft Repair

Topic #: AF2000-163 & AF2001-131
Sponsor: AF ML
Status: AF2000-163 completed Sep 2003.
AF2001-131 completed Sep 2002.
Seeking transition partners.
TRL: 6
Patent: U.S Patent No. 7,144,544
Need: Field deployable repair kits for composites in aircraft.
Operational Gap: Current methods require hot bonders and controlled cool temperature storage.
Specifications: Easy to use. Fast. No hot bonders. Room Temperature storage. High glass transition temperature.

Rapid on-aircraft repair techniques for fiberglass composite components are essential to the support of the Air Expeditionary Force concept. Field level damage repair of aircraft is critical to maintaining full force projection during combat.

Current field level repair techniques for aircraft skins use thermally accelerated adhesive bonding to restore the original design strength of the composite laminate. Unfortunately, airframe structural members act as heat sinks, and make it difficult to obtain a uniform cure temperature profiles. Current resin repair systems require low temperature storage, increasing storage cost and support complexity. Texas Research Institute Austin, Inc. (TRI/Austin) has developed an ultraviolet curable glass composites system designed specifically for quick field repair of damaged aircraft. The high Tg (165 to 185oC) TRI/Austin UV cure resin and glass prepreg patches will offer a field friendly, cost effective solution to the current repair problem. Cure times can be significantly reduced, increasing aircraft availability and reducing repair cost. The TRI/Austin aircraft field repair materials are easily applied, include a resin with a moderate viscosity, have a high glass transition temperature after cure, require no mixing, and cure in place without the addition of heat.

TRI/Austin also developed a high performance, cure in place epoxy syntactic foam. Physical properties and adhesion to aircraft honeycomb have been characterized and a field application method has been developed.

In the News

“TRI/Austin Materials Scientists Awarded Patent for Field Deployable Composite Repair System”, Austin, Texas, March 1, 2007 –[ASDWire]– Under an Air Force Research Laboratory Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract, TRI/Austin has developed a resin system that cures rapidly using UV light.

“Ultraviolet Radiation Cured Acrylate for Aircraft Composite Field Repairs”, Brad A. Rix and John W. Bulluck, RADTECH Report, November/December 2004