The proposed areas of investigation for the network can be split into two principal areas of investigation, concerning thick glass fibre fabrics reinforced resin.
First, mechanical characterization of both panels and tubes. Mechanical testing of thick samples cut from flat panels should enable measurement of both rigidities and strengths. For tubes, internal or external pressure testing is very expensive ; one way to avoid such heavy testing would be to perform simpler tests on rings cut from the tubes. However, technical difficulties, such as the high loads required to reach failure, together with theoretical problems linked to the use of more advanced plate theories taking transverse shear into account, hinder the development of reliable test methods. The total lack of standards in the area confirms that work is needed.
Secondly, quality control of manufactured or in-situ components. Indeed, there is a need for damage assessment in existing structures that methods developed for the aeronautic industries cannot cope with. Ultrasonic scanning, for instance, will require much more energetic waves to investigate deeper in the material.
Concurrently, simple quality control techniques are needed for both panels and tubes for small companies to check manufacturing processes. Modal analysis is a possible answer, but here again, important thicknesses or tubular shape are the key issues to be addressed.
The first task to be performed by the network is to prepare concise reports to review the state of the art and the existing or potential needs of the lndustry.These reports will serve as work documents to establish the final network proposition.
The second task also to be performed in this exploratory phase is to look for potential industrial or university partners to develop the network to fit the zequired size.
The third task will be to seek support from the standardization organization, either national, or CEN and ISO.
Finally, a general meeting of the different partners will be held in St-Etienne to conclude on the feasibility of the network. The key issues will be the acceptance of new partners (at least two are required to carry on the second phase), the support from the standardization bodies and the involvement of industry. If these criteria are successfully met, the basis of the final implementation of the network will be set-up.
Funding SchemeEAT - Exploratory awards (thematic networks)
92138 Issy Les Moulineaux
19038 Sarzana La Spezia
TW11 0LW Teddington