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Project: Reliable Methods to Inspect CFP Composites

Acronym: RELIM
Main Objective:
Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) is an important research area that comprises development of technologies and methodologies for assessing the structural integrity of critical materials, components and structures.
Aging aircrafts, transmission pipelines, bridges, railways, power plants and other large sections of our civilian and defence infrastructure are known to have far exceed their design lifetime. This has driven to an increasing demand of systems that provide a reliable and accurate assessment of the structural integrity of these structures in terms of their ability to operate safely.
A second problem of significance is that in the last decade, the use of composite materials in aircraft structures has increased due to their light weight and associated fuel savings, improved fatigue performance and lack of corrosion susceptibility. But by the very nature of their fabrication, composites pose new and unique challenges to aviation inspectors.
Although NDE methods have been in existence for close to a century, from the late 1980s to present, NDE has seen unprecedented development and significant growth through advanced instrumentation and methodologies. With aging structures, with the evolvement of new structural designs and materials, the inspection methods increasingly fall short of needs. NDE became, in fact, the fastest growing technology from the standpoint of uniqueness and innovation.
Objectives proposed within this project are novel methods that push the state of art in NDE with a goal to monitor, detect and characterize hidden damage in carbon fiber polymer reinforced (CFP) composites. Typical defects in carbon fiber composite materials include fiber breaks, fiber/matrix distribution, fiber waviness, micro-cracks, delaminations, contaminants, impact damage and porosity or voids. The characterization of defects represents one of the most difficult and yet unsolved problems in NDE. We intend to achieve this goal by joining two NDE techniques which are complementary: eddy current testing (ECT) and guided wave ultrasonic testing (GWUT).
Although the proposed research can find applications in transport, nuclear, oil and gas industries, the work shall be focused on developing new field usable technologies for aerospace structures. The aerospace industry has, in our lives and in the world economy, an impact enough to justify the choice. Moreover, Portugal established the development of the aerospace industry as strategic relevant within the Horizon 2020 agenda and we firmly believe that this proposal brings knowledge and technological progress into this area.
In addition, NDE is inherently a multidisciplinary area requiring researchers to have expertise in physics, instrumentation, mathematical modeling, signal processing, and pattern recognition. This project can provide opportunities in theoretical as well as experimental aspects of NDE for students with varied research interests.
Start Date: 01-07-2016
End Date: 01-06-2018
Team: Helena Maria dos Santos Geirinhas Ramos, Artur Fernando Delgado Lopes Ribeiro, Jose Antonio Marinho Brandao Faria, Jorge Manuel Torres Pereira
Groups: Instrumentation and Measurements – Lx, Applied Electromagnetics - Lx, Optical Communication Systems and Networking – Lx
Local Coordinator: Helena Maria dos Santos Geirinhas Ramos

Associated Publications