BRITE/EURAM programme BE5145 has focussed on the issues concerning the provision of more reliable, more cost-effective inspection of aircraft structures. It has done this by addressing the whole of the inspection process as applied to carbon-composite and metal-to-metal bonded structures.
The project has used a set of specimens containing controlled defects to measure the reliability of a number of present inspection techniques, using the concept of inspection validation. The programme has developed a number of evolving techniques that possibly offer more reliability and/or more cost-benefit to the inspection community. These have been assessed in the same validation environment. This has permitted a direct comparison of the present techniques, and resulted in objective statements of what defect conditions can be reliably detected, where there have been improvements, and also where further work should now be focused.
In parallel, the issue of non-destructive testing (NDT) inspection procedures has been addressed. It has been shown that two new procedures, developed under this programme (and therefore termed 'BRITE/EURAM procedures'), and which aimed to amalgamate and improve on specific inspection problems, are superior to present practice. This improvement has been quantified through validation. The work has also provided guidelines on how the writing of procedures may be used to increase the reliability of any inspection technique.
The objective of this programme is to improve the reliability, quality and cost-effectiveness of the inspection of safety critical structures. This will be achieved by adopting a unique, innovative Systems Approach to inspection technology development which considers all of the factors affecting reliability (equipment, working conditions, human factors, written procedures) in an integrated manner. Such an approach ensures that the technology developed has maximum reliability and can be introduced onto the shop floor in the minimum timeframe.
The programme will concentrate on R&D of shearography, thermography and advanced ultrasonics which have the potential to provide usable systems to inspect large areas of composites and bonded joints rapidly and reliably in both an in-service and a manufacturing environment. A significant amount of effort is also devoted to the training of staff in the use of the technology developed. This is particularly important given the participation of a range of different types of organisations (manufacturers, end-users, university, research centre) from, in some cases, less technically advanced regions of the Community.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
00050 Fiumicino Roma
BS99 7AR Bristol
LU2 9LX Luton
581 88 Linkoping
BT3 9DZ Belfast