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Engineers Develop Self-healing Process for Composite Aircraft

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posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 09:17 AM
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This is pretty amazing...


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Aerospace engineers from Bristol University have developed a new method to complement routine visual inspections of commercial aircraft made from composite materials such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The researchers have devised a way to fill the hollow parts of composite aircraft with a self hardening resin. When the airframe is damaged the resin would bleed out of the hollow spaces into the crack and seal the damaged area with enough strength to maintain flight and safely land. The engineers also say that future aircraft could have the resin moving continuously through a circulatory system built-in to the airframe.

The resin doesn’t return the airframe to 100% of its strength, but the researchers say that the resin would allow the damaged area to regain 80% to 90% of its former strength. The process used by the engineers is likened to the process the human body uses to heal after a cut. In the body, blood leaks into the damage tissue where platelets form clots to stop bleeding and a scab forms to aid in healing and protect the area. In the engineers system the resin is the blood and the hardened resin is like a clot and scab protecting the area.


I'm kind of surprised this has not been tried before. obviously it would not have much to offer in the event of a catastropic failure but it seems like a great idea all the same.




posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 09:54 AM
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If you want to see something really amazing, look into the neural net for aircraft that they were working on at Dryden. It was designed to help land a plane after a control failure, such as the IAF F-15 that lost a wing.

This is a great idea though. I can think of several situations where it might help them to keep the damage from getting worse afterwards.



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