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Composites repairs and monitoring and validation - Dissemination of innovations and latest achievements to key players of the aeronautical industry

Final Report Summary - AEROPLAN (Composites repairs and monitoring and validation - Dissemination of innovations and latest achievements to key players of the aeronautical industry)

Executive Summary:
There is an increasing need for innovative repair solutions, both for metallic and for composite structures, to restore their structural integrity or to reinforce areas prone to damage. These repair solutions could reduce operating costs by providing easy and low cost repair procedures, extending significantly their economical life while also guaranteeing their airworthiness and the flight safety. Solutions for today's aircraft industry may be met by in-house developments involving specialised companies in the field of composite repair equipment manufacturing. However, definitive answers to the challenges of tomorrow, as they are continuously arising due to the more extensive use of composite materials in aircraft structures, will only be provided through continuous investment in R&D and technical excellence, in cooperation with competent research organisations.
Project Context and Objectives:
During the last ten years, the European Commission (EC) has funded research projects providing composite-based aircraft repair solutions through the development of innovative elements that could assist in performing safer and more efficient repairs in a faster and more economical way. These innovations have been developed as the main or secondary target of a large number of upstream research projects. Their combination and adaptation into the aeronautical composite repair market is needed to maximise the impact of results facilitated by EC investment. A consortium of key partners participated in a significant number of research projects already finished has been assembled to deliver the prime objective of the AEROPLAN, which is to disseminate the technological innovations from the COMPRES, SENARIO, PLASER, INDUCER, IAPETUS, COMPAIR EXPECT, INDUCTOR, COMPARE, ADVANCED, MAGNASENSE and EVITA projects, quickly and effectively within Europe.

The overview for each project currently being disseminated within the AEROPLAN Consortium is as follows:

COMPAIR - Continuous health monitoring and non-destructive assessment of composites and composite repairs on surface transport applications
EXPECT - Examination of Practical Aspects of Innovative Bonded Composite Repair Techniques
INDUCTOR - Induction based Curing Tool for Optimized heating of composite Repairs
COMPARE - Comparative evaluation of NDT techniques for high-quality bonded composite repairs
ADVANCED - Advanced heating system and control mode for homogeneous high temperature curing of large composite repairs
COMPRES - Composite Repair of Metallic Structure for Ageing Commercial Aircraft
SENARIO - Advanced Sensors and Novel Concepts for Intelligent and Reliable Processing in Bonded Repairs
PLASER - Portable Laser system for the Surface preparation of composite Repairs
INDUCER - Induction Heating and Health Monitoring Solutions for Smart Aircraft Maintenance using Adapted Composite Patches
IAPETUS - Innovative Repair of Aerospace Structures with Curing Optimization and Life Cycle Monitoring abilities
MAGNASENSE - Magnetostrictive sensor applications for self-sensing of composite structures
EVITA - Non-Destructive Evaluation, Inspection and Testing of Primary Aeronautical Composite Structures Using Phase Contrast X-Ray Imaging

To accomplish the project objectives, the work activities have been organised into a number of discrete Work Packages. Those were divided into Support activities (from WP1 to WP5) and Management (WP6).

The description for those Work Packages are shown below:

WP1 - Detailed Definition of Supporting Activities
WP2 - Preparatory Activities
WP3 - Periodic Dissemination Activities (PDA)
WP4 - Permanent Support Instruments (PSI)
WP5 - Monitoring and Evaluation Activities
WP6 - Project Management

Further details on these Work Packages have been provided in the next section "Description of the main S&T results/foregrounds".
Project Results:
The details for each work package are presented as follows:

WP1 - Detailed Definition of Supporting Activities is 100% complete at the end of the project and D1.1 - Detailed Definition of Supporting Activities was submitted on the EC's electronic system. The overall objective of this Work Package was to define specific targeted groups needs (Task 1.1) dissemination material specifications (Task 1.2) and dissemination activities (Task 1.3). The industrial needs were matched with the developments carried out in each FP7 project under the AEROPLAN umbrella. This was to lead further in AEROPLAN to disseminate the project results in each unique project efficiently in order to offer developed technologies to various industries by matching the problems with the appropriate solutions.

* Lack of appropriate technical manual -standards and specifications- to control the implementation of the repair as integrated method, from the design phase, up to application and quality assurance - Addressed by projects COMPRES and EXPECT
* The economic and technical feasibility of repairs by composite patching - Addressed by project COMPRES
* Bonding performance and quality assurance - Addressed by projects COMPRES and COMPARE
* The necessary technological infrastructure (repair equipment, NDE capabilities) - Addressed by project COMPRES
* Assessing the actual material state and integrating the available tools (simulations, measurements, experience and knowledge) into an intelligent material based control system – Addressed by project SENARIO
* Surface preparation issues in composite repairs – Addressed by projects PLASER and EXPECT
* Variety of factors that may influence the structural integrity of composite repaired areas in aircraft structures – Addressed by projects INDUCER, IAPETUS and INDUCTOR
- Curing of the repair
- Health monitoring of the repair
- Lightning protection
- Earthing
* Inspection and monitoring of the damage that is not visible to the naked eye in composite components in vehicles and surface transport - Addressed by projects COMPAIR, COMPARE and EVITA
* Need for control methods for achievement of temperature homogeneity – Addressed by INDUCTOR and ADVANCED

The following dissemination material has been prepared to be distributed to the target groups throughout the project:

1. Handout including foreground generating project abstracts (~10 pages)
2. Handout including foreground generating project main results (~10 pages)
3. Brief presentation on foreground generating projects (~10 slides)
4. Analytical presentation on foreground generating projects (~100 slides)
5. Analytical presentation on foreground generating projects including theoretical aspects (~200 slides)
6. General practical composite repair issues (~50 slides)
7. Exhibition of hardware developed within foreground generating projects during Workshops
8. Posters presenting foreground generating projects (~10 posters)
9. Flyers for AEROPLAN workshops / seminars (~2 pages)
10. General AEROPLAN project advertisement flyers (~ 2 pages)

Under this work package, also an events log has been created to follow upcoming events that are relevant to AEROPLAN.

The innovations to be included in each Permanent Support Instrument (web based application, composites repair advisory group) was defined taking into consideration results of T1.1 and in coordination with T1.2 as far as the support material is concerned.

WP2 - Preparatory Activities was completed in month 6 and is reported separately as Deliverable D2.1.
The objective of this Work Package was to prepare presentations, handbooks and theoretical and practical test cases to support the implementation of WP3 and WP4 (Task 2.1).

The main task of WP2 was the preparation of dissemination material to be used in dissemination activities by the consortium members. Taking advantage of the innovations generated in the involved research projects, a wide range of dissemination material was produced. This material listed below will be processed according to the needs of the target groups and will then be exploited by the PDAs and PSIs.

* Website
* AEROPLAN Project Flyer
* Project abstracts / Hand out for the research projects involved in AEROPLAN
* Presentations, to be used during seminars, workshops, lectures and to be input to the web based application

In the second period, the presentations, posters and flyers were customised for various events to address the target groups interests.

WP3 - Periodic Dissemination Activities (PDA) was completed 100% at the end of the project.
The visits to various events and targeted publications have provided a good platform to access an appropriate audience and to disseminate the project achievements. The project beneficiaries have evaluated the opportunities during the second half of the project, discussed within the consortium and proceeded accordingly. It was defined in the Description of Work (DoW) of AEROPLAN project that throughout the project it was expected to organise 3 conferences and 2 seminars; one (1) in each dissemination period. An overview of innovations generated in the research projects supporting the AEROPLAN project was presented in various events. DoW also referred to 3 workshops, 1 in each dissemination period, to be organised. This goal has been successfully achieved by interacting with the industry and demonstrating prototypes in various events. The presentations and dissemination materials were tailored according to the needs and the audience composition in each activity. Magazines were also considered under this task considering their larger targeted audience than individual lectures therefore, AEROPLAN was / will be presented in couple of important publications in order to increase the awareness for the project. All these activities were reported in the Deliverable D3.1 D3.2 and D3.3.

WP4 - Permanent Support Instruments (PSI) was successfully completed at the end of the project. The AEROPLAN project website launched by TWI on 20th March 2012 has been widely used by the project participants to facilitate active dissemination and access to project material (dissemination, meeting information, presentations etc.). In order to present the project results in more details and provide industry a better picture for each project, the project website has been redesigned and updated with more dissemination material during the 2nd phase. The new version of the AEROPLAN project website was launched on 6th September 2013.

Also, a Wikipedia page for composite repairs was prepared, reviewed and uploaded onto the Wikipedia website to create more awareness about the composite repair technologies under the AEROPLAN project.

AEROPLAN assembled experts in composite repair for the aeronautical industries to form an “Advisory Group of Experts". The group consists of key personnel from the AEROPLAN participants and invited scientists from other organisations, and worked to:
* Identify specific areas, where additional research is required.
* Facilitate certification of innovations developed in the bonded composite repair area.
* Examine potential application of knowledge existing in the aeronautical sector to other industrial sectors, which are of interest to the EU.
* Facilitate transnational access to composite repair innovations.
* Steer the activities of AEROPLAN, in terms of their scientific content and examined case studies.

The details for all these activities have been reported in D4.1 D4.2 and D4.3.

WP5 - Monitoring and Evaluation Activities is complete 100% at the end of the project. The definition of monitoring and evaluation tools for the PDAs and the PSIs have been summarised in Deliverable D5.1. The events were carefully reviewed for further client interactions after each event, and reported in D5.2.
Potential Impact:
Research proposals funded by the EC include dissemination and exploitation plans which, for the projects already finished, have been successfully concluded. However, it is evident that due to the fragmentation of the research activities on the same topic (i.e. bonded composite repairs) in ten different projects, none of these projects were able to provide autonomously a global overview of advancements achieved in this field to the stakeholders of the aeronautical industry. The AEROPLAN project attempts to fill this gap by integrating all the produced technological advancements into a single support action, targeting all the key players of the aeronautical industry directly.

The consortium partners have attended various events and given presentations about the AEROPLAN. The needs for the specific target groups have been identified and project partners have visited prospective clients to establish the match between their needs and the technical developments made in relevant projects. It was aimed that both existing aircraft and future designs will take benefit of the innovations, increasing the efficiency of the EU resources already committed to the implementation of the FP7 targets.

As the time from the generation of an innovation until its inclusion into a Structural Repair Manual (SRM) -which could be considered the final application level of this technology- usually exceeds one decade.

The objective of AEROPLAN was to disseminate appropriately to all levels of the aeronautical industry the foreground knowledge generated within EC funded research projects, focusing on real life applications. In this way the project ensured that both existing aircraft and future designs would benefit from these innovations.
List of Websites:
AEROPLAN is collaboration between the following organisations: TWI LIMITED, NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS, LZH LASERZENTRUM HANNOVER E.V. FUNDACION TECNALIA RESEARCH & INNOVATION, GMI AERO SAS, INASCO - INTEGRATED AEROSPACE SCIENCES CORPORATION O.E. and EADS DEUTSCHLAND GMBH. The Project is co-ordinated and managed by TWI Ltd. and received funding from the EU under the Research for the benefit of SMEs programme. Grant Agreement Number 285089.

Project coordinator: Kamer Tuncbilek, TWI Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 899000
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 890952
Address: Granta Park, Great Abington,Cambridge CB21 6AL, UK