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AIRCRAFT MATERIALS,

STRUCTURES, DAMAGES, REPAIR


AND AGEING

INTRODUCTION

TEAM:
Barraza Escarcega Bryan Roman
Canto Escajadillo Fernando Oswaldo
Hernndez Yaez Sharon Denice
Spnola Cortes Mara de los ngeles
Take ngeles Arturo Alexis

Structural Repair
9th Quarter Group A

Eng. Celedonio Posadas

Background
1. Materials in Aerospace
Ever since the Wright brothers built their Flyer back in 1903, the materials used in airplane
design have been constantly evolving. The original Wright Flyer was comprised primarily
of spruce and ash Wood with muslin covering the wings, while todays airliners are made
mostly of aluminum with some structure made from steel. In the mid 1960s, scientists
and engineers began working on a new breed of aerospace materials called composites.
A composite is an engineered material made from two or more ingredients with
significantly differing properties, either physical or chemical. While no longer used today,
an early example of a composite material was a mix of mud and straw that was used to
make bricks. Composites have two significant advantages over some of the more
traditional materials: greater strength and lighter weight.
One of the most common forms of composite in use today is carbon fier. It is made by
heating lengths of rayon, pitch or other types of fire to extremely high temperatures
(~2000C) in an oxygen-deprived oven. This heat, combined with the lack of oxygen,
means that instead of combusting or burning completely, the rayon strands turn into
strands of pure carbon atoms approximately 6m (six micrometers) in diameter.
These strands are spun into a thread, then woven into sheets and mixed with hardening
resins to form the various components needed.
Aircraft materials
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Identify the various types of metallic and nonmetallic materials
used in aircraft construction. An aircraft must be constructed of materials that are both
light and strong. Early aircraft were made of wood. Lightweight metal alloys with a strength
greater than wood were developed and used on later aircraft. Materials currently used in
aircraft construction are classified as either metallic materials or nonmetallic materials.
METALLIC MATERIALS
The most common metals used in aircraft construction are aluminum, magnesium,
titanium, steel, and their alloys. Alloys are composed of two or more metals. The metal
present in the alloy in the largest amount is called the base metal. All other metals added
to the base metal are called alloying elements. Adding the alloying elements may result
in a change in the properties of the base metal. For example, pure aluminum is relatively
soft and weak. However, adding small amounts or copper, manganese, and magnesium
will increase aluminum's strength many times. Heat treatment can increase or decrease
an alloy's strength and hardness. Alloys are important to the aircraft industry. They
provide materials with properties that pure metals do not possess.
Aluminum
Aluminum alloys are widely used in modern aircraft construction. Aluminum alloys are
valuable because they have a high strength-to-weight ratio. Aluminum alloys are
corrosion resistant and comparatively easy to fabricate. The outstanding characteristic of
aluminum is its lightweight.

Magnesium
Magnesium is the world's lightest structural metal. It is a silvery-white material that weighs
two-thirds as much as aluminum. Magnesium is used to make helicopters. Magnesium's
low resistance to corrosion has limited its use in conventional aircraft.
Titanium
Titanium is a lightweight, strong, corrosion resistant metal. Recent developments make
titanium ideal for applications where aluminum alloys are too weak and stainless steel is
too heavy. Additionally, titanium is unaffected by long exposure to seawater and marine
atmosphere.
Steel Alloys
Alloy steels used in aircraft construction have great strength, more so than other fields of
engineering would require. These materials must withstand the forces that occur on
today's modern aircraft. These steels contain small percentages of carbon, nickel,
chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum. High-tensile steels will stand stress of 50 to 150
tons per square inch without failing. Such steels are made into tubes, rods, and wires.
Another type of steel used extensively is stainless steel. Stainless steel resists corrosion
and is particularly valuable for use in or near water.
NONMETALLIC MATERIALS
In addition to metals, various types of plastic materials are found in aircraft construction.
Some of these plastics include transparent plastic, reinforced plastic, composite, and
carbon-fiber materials.
Transparent Plastic
Transparent plastic is used in canopies, windshields, and other transparent enclosures.
You need to handle transparent plastic surfaces carefully because they are relatively soft
and scratch easily. At approximately 225F, transparent plastic becomes soft and pliable.
Reinforced Plastic
Reinforced plastic is used in the construction of radomes, wingtips, stabilizer tips, antenna
covers, and flight controls. Reinforced plastic has a high strength-to-weight ratio and is
resistant to mildew and rot. Because it is easy to fabricate, it is equally suitable for other
parts of the aircraft
Composite and Carbon Fiber Materials
High-performance aircraft require an extra high strength-to-weight ratio material.
Fabrication of composite materials satisfies this special requirement. Composite
materials are constructed by using several layers of bonding materials (graphite epoxy or
boron epoxy). These materials are mechanically fastened to conventional substructures.
Another type of composite construction consists of thin graphite epoxy skins bonded to
an aluminum honeycomb core. Carbon fiber is extremely strong, thin fiber made by
heating synthetic fibers, such as rayon, until charred, and then layering in cross sections

2. Structure
Main learning objective is identify the construction features of the fixed-wing aircraft
and identify the primary, secondary, and auxiliary flight control surfaces. The principal
structural units of a fixed-wing aircraft are the fuselage, wings, stabilizers, flight control
surfaces, and landing gear. Image 2.1 shows these units of a naval aircraft. The terms
left or right used in relation to any of the structural units refer to the right or left hand of
the pilot seated in the cockpit.
FUSELAGE
The fuselage is the main structure, or body, of the aircraft. It provides space for personnel,
cargo, controls, and most of the accessories. The power plant, wings, stabilizers, and
landing gear are attached to it.

Image 2.1 - Principal Structural Units on F-14 Aircraft

There are two general types of fuselage constructionwelded steel truss and monocoque
designs. The welded steel truss was used in smaller Navy aircraft, and it is still being
used in some helicopters. The monocoque design relies largely on the strength of the
skin, or covering, to carry various loads. The monocoque design may be divided into three
classesmonocoque, semimonocoque (Image 2.2), and reinforced shell.

Image 2.2 - Semimonocoque Fuselage Construction


WINGS
Wings develop the major portion of the lift of a heavier-than-air aircraft. Wing structures
carry some of the heavier loads found in the aircraft structure. The particular design of a
wing depends on many factors, such as the size, weight, speed, rate of climb, and use of
the aircraft.
The wing must be constructed so that it holds its aerodynamics shape under the extreme
stresses of combat maneuvers or wing loading. Wing construction is similar in most
modern aircraft. In its simplest form, the wing is a framework made up of spars and ribs
and covered with metal. The construction of an aircraft wing is shown in Image 2.3.

Image 2.3 Two-spar Wing Construction

STABILIZERS
The stabilizing surfaces of an aircraft consist of vertical and horizontal airfoils. They are
called the vertical stabilizer (or fin) and horizontal stabilizer. These two airfoils, along with
the rudder and elevators, form the tail section. For inspection and maintenance purposes,
the entire tail section is considered a single unit called the empennage.
The main purpose of stabilizers is to keep the aircraft in straight-and-level flight. The
vertical stabilizer maintains the stability of the aircraft about its vertical axis (Image 2.4).
This is known as directional stability. The vertical stabilizer usually serves as the base to
which the rudder is attached. The horizontal stabilizer provides stability of the aircraft
about its lateral axis.
This is known as longitudinal stability. The horizontal stabilizer usually serves as the base
to which the elevators are attached. On many newer, high-performance aircraft, the entire
vertical and/or horizontal stabilizer is a movable airfoil. Without the movable airfoil, the
flight control surfaces would lose their effectiveness at extremely high altitudes.

Image 2.4 Axes and Fundamental Movements of the Aircraft

FLIGHT CONTROL SURFACES


Flight control surfaces are hinged (movable) airfoils designed to change the attitude of
the aircraft during flight. These surfaces are divided into three groupsprimary,
secondary, and auxiliary.
Primary Group
The primary group of flight control surfaces includes ailerons, elevators, and rudders. The
ailerons attach to the trailing edge of the wings. They control the rolling (or banking)
motion of the aircraft. This action is known as longitudinal control. The elevators are
attached to the horizontal stabilizer and control the climb or descent (pitching motion) of
the aircraft. This action is known as lateral control.
The rudder is attached to the vertical stabilizer. It determines the horizontal flight (turning
or yawing motion) of the aircraft. This action is known as directional control. The ailerons
and elevators are operated from the cockpit by a control stick on single-engine aircraft. A
yoke and wheel assembly operates the ailerons and elevators on multiengine aircraft,
such as transport and patrol aircraft. The rudder is operated by foot pedals on all types of
aircraft.
Secondary Group
The secondary group includes the trim tabs and spring tabs. Trim tabs are small airfoils
recessed into the trailing edges of the primary control surface. Each trim tab hinges to its
parent primary control surface, but operates by an independent control.
Trim tabs let the pilot trim out an unbalanced condition without exerting pressure on the
primary controls. Spring tabs are similar in appearance to trim tabs but serve an entirely
different purpose. Spring tabs are used for the same purpose as hydraulic actuators. They
aid the pilot in moving a larger control surface, such as the ailerons and elevators.
Auxiliary Group
The auxiliary group includes the wing flaps, spoilers, speed brakes, and slats.
WING FLAPS. Wing flaps give the aircraft extra lift. Their purpose is to reduce the landing
speed. Reducing the landing speed shortens the length of the landing rollout. Flaps help
the pilot land in small or obstructed areas by increasing the glide angle without greatly
increasing the approach speed. The use of flaps during takeoff serves to reduce the
length of the take-off run.

SPOILERS. Spoilers are used to decrease wing lift. The specific design, function, and
use vary with different aircraft. On some aircraft, the spoilers are long narrow surfaces,
hinged at their leading edge to the upper surfaces of the wings. In the retracted position,
they are flush with the wing skin. In the raised position, they greatly reduce wing lift by
destroying the smooth flow of air over the wing surface.
SPEED BRAKES. Speed brakes are movable control surfaces used for reducing the
speed of the aircraft. Some manufacturers refer to them as dive brakes; others refer to
them as dive flaps. On some aircraft, they're hinged to the sides or bottom of the fuselage.
Regardless of their location, speed brakes serve the same purposeto keep the airspeed
from building too high when the aircraft dives. Speed brakes slow the aircraft's speed
before it lands.
SLATS. Slats are movable control surfaces that attach to the leading edge of the wing.
When the slat is retracted, it forms the leading edge of the wing. When the slat is open
(extended forward), a slot is created between the slat and the wing leading edge. Highenergy air is introduced into the boundary layer over the top of the wing. At low airspeeds,
this action improves the lateral control handling characteristics.
LANDING GEAR
Before World War II, aircraft were made with their main landing gear located behind the
center of gravity. An auxiliary gear under the fuselage nose was added. This arrangement
became known as the tricycle type of landing gear. Nearly all present-day Navy aircraft
are equipped with tricycle landing gear.
The tricycle gear has the following advantages over older landing gear:
-

More stable in motion on the ground


Maintains the fuselage in a level position
Increases the pilot's visibility and control
Makes landing easier, especially in cross winds

Image 2.5 - Typical Landing Gear System.


The landing gear system (Image 2.5) consists of three retractable landing gear
assemblies. Each main landing gear has a conventional air-oil shock strut, a wheel brake
assembly, and a wheel and tire assembly. The nose landing gear has a conventional airoil shock strut, a shimmy damper, and a wheel and tire assembly.

3. Damage
Harm or injuty to a person, property or system resulting in impairment or loss of function,
usefulness, or value.

Aircraft Structures
Aircraft structures are built to minimize weight while increasing safety and reliability.
The analysis and design of flight structures takes into account static strength, buckling
strength, and fatigue life.

Image 3.1 Structures

Aircraft Structural Damage:


Structural damage quantification and estimating its severity is needed in many aging
structures in aerospace engineering (aircraft wings, fuselages, rotating and
manufacturing machinery) and civil engineering structures (bridges, building, pressure
vessels). The damage may be due to fatigue, corrosion and/or wear of materials resulting
from operating conditions and the environment. Some of tie major problems of aging
militaiy and commercial aircraft include, for example, in-service 36 cracking of the aircraft
wing upper surface, widespread fatigue damage of the various structural components,
uncertainty in variable amplitude loading and overload effects of aircrafls, discrete source
damage induced by foreign objects, and repairs of metallic components with composite
counterparts to extend the service life.
Current aircraft structures are mostly built using metallic and polymer composite materials
with metal-matrix composites in very exceptional cases. The mechanism of damage in
these materials depends on the ductility and homogeneity. Materials, such as aluminum,
develop cracks. Microscopic cracks generating in the grains of a metal propagate in the
respective component during the life-time under variable loading conditions. Severe and
unexpected loads or impacts can lead to significant plastic deformation on component
surfaces. Polymer based composite materials do generate other mechanisms of damage
where barely visible impact damage (BVID) is the mechanism of major concern.

The significance of fatigue failure has led to a differentiation in fatigue failure types, such
as reported in (Suresh 1998). A sequence of variable loads and thus stresses and strains
leads to mechanical fatigue or cracking. Cycling loads in conjunction with high
temperatures results in creep-fatigue. The presence of a chemically aggressive
environment causes corrosion. The variety of corrosion types includes pitting, galvanic,
intergranular and exfoliation corrosion. Cycling loads with sliding and rolling contact lead
to sliding and rolling contact fatigue, respectively. Fretting fatigue is another form of failure
due to cyclic stresses and oscillatory frictional motion between components. Cracking and
corrosion are the most common mechanisms of fatigue structural failure in aerospace
engineering. All metallic components exhibit different stages of fatigue damage. These
can be classified as:

Substructural and microstructural changes,


Microscopic cracks,
Formation of dominant cracks,
Stable propagation of dominant cracks,
Structural instability and/or complete fracture.
Statistical analysis of various types of structural damage can identify and improve fatiguecritical areas in structures. A highly important source of information in aerospace
engineering is the so-called Major Airframe Fatigue Test (MAFT).

Image 3.2 Structural damage after MAFT: (a) types of structural damage; (b) types of
fatigue cracks.

4. Maintenance and Repair


Consideration of aircraft operations, including inspection, maintenance, and repair
procedures is crucial in the development and application of new materials and structures.
This part of the committee's report focuses on the operation and monitoring of materials
and structures in a service environment. [Fig. 4.1]

Image 4.1 Maintenance and Repair


The FAA should work with the airline and manufacturing industries to develop common
standards and procedures for maintenance and repair of aircraft structure. Application of
new materials, processes, and component designs need to be anticipated and accounted
for in the FAA's research priorities.

Maintenance Programs
The successful utilization of new materials and structural concepts relies on maintenance
programs that cost-effectively ensure passenger safety. Maintenance programs are
evolved and developed for each new type of aircraft based on previous experience with
similar materials, engines, components, or structures. New materials or structures, for
which experience is limited, are observed more frequently until a basic level of confidence
is established. Time extensions to inspection intervals are based on observations made
during routine service checks.
The objectives of an effective maintenance program are as follows:

Ensure, through maintenance activity, that the inherent safety and reliability
imparted to an aircraft by its design are sustained.

Provide opportunities to restore levels of safety and reliability when deterioration


occurs.

Obtain information for design modification when inherent reliability is not adequate.

Accomplish the above at the lowest possible cost.

Structural Maintenance
Any new aircraft program is based on assessing structural design information, fatigue and
damage tolerance evaluations, service experience with similar aircraft structures, and
pertinent test results. Generally, the maintenance task evaluates sources of structural
deterioration including accidental damage, environmental deterioration, [Fig.4.2] and
fatigue damage; susceptibility of the structure to each source of deterioration; the
consequences of structural deterioration to continuing airworthiness including effect on
aircraft (e.g., loss of function and reduction of residual strength, multiple-site or multipleelement fatigue damage, the effect on aircraft flight or response characteristics caused
by the interaction of structural damage or failure with systems or power plant items, or inflight loss of structural items); and the applicability and effectiveness of various methods
of detecting structural deterioration, taking into account inspection thresholds and repeat
intervals.

Image 4.2 Damage in an Airplane

Component Maintenance
The reliability of a part or component of aircraft hardware is only as good as its inherent
design (supported by adequate maintenance) allows it to be. Hence, it is generally
accepted that:

Good maintenance allows parts to reach their potential reliability.

Overmaintaining does improve reliability, but does waste mone.

Undermaintaining can degrade reliability.

There are three approaches to preventative maintenance that have proven to be effective.
The first method, hard time, involves removing a unit from service when it reaches a preordained parameter value. The second method, functional check or inspection, involves

monitoring a characteristic dimension or usage/operating parameter of a piece of


hardware to determine if it is still suitable for continued operation, or if it should be
removed to prevent an in-service failure. The third method, functional verification, requires
performing an operational check of hardware function(s) to determine each function's
availability if it is normally hidden from the scrutiny of the flight and operating crew.
Generally, most airlines classify specific component maintenance tasks as follows:

Lubrication or servicing, where the replenishment of the consumable reduces the


rate of functional deterioration.
Operational or visual check, where identification of the failure must be possible.
Inspection or function check, where reduced resistance to failure must be
detectable and the rate of reduction in failure resistance must be predictable.
Restoration, where the item must show functional degradation characteristics at
an identifiable age, have a large proportion of units survive to that age, and be able
to be restored to a specific standard of failure resistance.
Discard, where the item must show functional degradation characteristics at an
identifiable age, and a large proportion of units are expected to survive to that age.

Malfunctions of components should be evident to the operating crew, have no direct


adverse effect on safety (whether they occur as a single or multiple event), [Fig.4.3] and
minimize the effect on the operation of the aircraft itself.

Image 4.3 Helicopters Sleeve Rotor


Effective application of new materials on commercial aircraft requires the designer to
consider potential sources of damage or degradation in operating environments and to
develop a maintenance and repair approach to address them. Damage may occur due to

flight loads, thermal and environmental cycles, and aircraft operation and servicing
activities. A number of valuable lessons have been learned from previous experience with
metallic and composite structure in the current fleet. These lessons provide evaluation
criteria in the application and servicing of new materials and structures.
Consideration of aircraft maintenance and repair procedures is a critical part of the
development and application of new materials and structures. Previous service
experience with metallic and composite structures supports the importance of a
maintainable design. The experience of the aging fleet with metallic structures provides
lessons in corrosion prevention and control as well as detection and control of multiplesite fatigue damage through appropriate analysis methods, improved component
designs, and focused inspection and maintenance. Experience in thin-skin composite
components suggests emphasis on robust and durable component design and
standardization of repair criteria, materials, and procedures.

5. Ageing
Ageing is a gradual process in which the properties of a material, structure or a complete
system change to be worse, and the causes could be for the time of service, and for
instance the number of cycles that pieces or structures can have, this due to biological,
chemical or physical agents. Some clear examples are corrosion (degradation of a metal
due to chemical or electrochemical reaction), wear (is removing material from a surface
and results of mechanical reaction) and obsolescence (significant reduction in the
usefulness or value of a property).
If we think about airplanes, so we can note that an aircraft begins to age as soon as it
starts to fly and a lot of effects of aging begin to occur very quickly. However, the term is
usually applied when an airplane began to have more age than the average age of similar
class aircraft.
An important accident occurred in 1988, in which Aloha Airlines lost an airplane, a Boeing
737-200 that has 20 years old, suffered a partial disintegration, the plane took off with 95
people on board (90 passengers and 5 crew members), at the altitude of 7,315.2 meters,
the roof and most of the lateral fuselage until wing section broke off, leaving the plane
depressurized and with a third of the passengers exposed to strong winds and
temperatures of -20 C. So the plane made an emergency landing. Then after a long
investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA), was determined that the cause of the incident was caused
by a metal fatigue in addition to humidity which was exposed, specifically for the
simultaneous presence of small cracks at multiple rivet locations that were sufficient in
size and density to contribute to this catastrophic event.
This type of aging aircraft referred to as widespread fatigue damage (WFD), shows the
importance of structural integrity of aging aircraft due to long-term and high frequency inservice use.

Fatigue damage in a structure is characterized by the simultaneous presence of cracks


at multiple structural details, and that is the reason for which the structure will no longer
meet its damage tolerance requirement and could catastrophically fail. The two sources
of WFD are;
a) Multiple-site damage (MSD), characterized by the simultaneous presence of
fatigue cracks in the same structural element.
b) Multiple-element damage (MED), characterized by the simultaneous presence of
fatigue cracks in similar adjacent structural elements.
Then of Aloha accident FAA developed a National program to prevent ageing by
maintenance and nondestructive inspection (NDI). Nowadays the process of aircraft
design and the subsequent establishment of principles for Maintenance Program,
integrate philosophies like damage tolerance, safe life design also inspection methods
and inspection intervals that are working to ensure the airworthiness not only of the
aircraft, if not all the structures that make it.
Metallic corrosion occurs when chemical action causes deterioration of the surface of a
metal. Most corrosion can occur by:
a) Galvanic or electrolytic in origin, which means that it has occurred because two
dissimilar metals have been together in an electrolyte (usually contaminated
water).
b) Grain boundaries within a metal alloy.
To prevent corrosion in general, we have to think about painting and obviously the
selection of materials can include non-metallic composites. For existing aircraft, improved
inspections, including the use of non-destructive testing (NDT), and the management of
any corrosion found through effective repair techniques.
Structural fatigue has produced a great number of ageing aircraft losses. However, for
repeated cyclic or 'G' loading has produced cracks that not permit more its residual
strength. Fatigue cracks have been found to arise in three main ways:

In internal load-bearing airframe structural components which can develop stress


hot spots;

In load bearing skins of large aircraft in which the skin itself carries a significant
structural load;

From fastener holes such as those for rivets, bolts, nuts and screws where
localized stress concentration can initiate premature cracking.

Some accident and serious incident reports are:

G73T, vicinity Miami Seaplane Base FL USA, 2005: One dramatic and fatal
example of structural fatigue was a 58 year old Grumman G73T Turbo Mallard

Seaplane which in 2005 shed the complete right hand wing whilst on a domestic
revenue flight in the USA when the main spar failed.

B741, en-route, Gunma Japan 1985: On August 12, 1985 a Boeing 747 SR-100
operated by Japan Air Lines experienced a loss of control attributed to loss of the
vertical stabilizer. After the declaration of the emergency, the aircraft continued its
flight for 30 minutes and subsequently impacted terrain in a mountainous area in
Gunma Prefecture, Japan.

AAIB Report on accident to Concorde 102 G-BOAF, over Tasman Sea, about 140
nm east of Sydney, Australia, on 12 April 1989: In 1989, a large part of the rudder
of a Concorde supersonic aircraft fractured and separated in flight due to failure of
the composite material which was attributed to moisture ingress over a significant
period prior to the accident.

REFERENCE:
New Materials for Next-Generation Commercial Transports (1996) Chapter: 7 Aircraft
Maintenance and Repair