Description: Commercial airframes exceeding 20 service years often develop crack and corrosion flaws. Bonded composite doublers offer a cost effective method to safely extend aircraft lives. The Federal Aircraft Authority (FAA) has completed a project to introduce composite doubler repair technology to the commercial aircraft industry. Instead of riveting steel or aluminum plates for repair, a single composite doubler may be bonded to the damaged structure. Adhesive bonding eliminates stress concentrations caused by fastener holes. Composites are readily formed into complex shapes for repairing irregular components. Also, composite doublers can be tailored to meet specific anisotropy needs, eliminating structural stiffening in directions other than those required. Other advantages include corrosion resistance, a high strength-to-weight ratio, and potential time savings in installation. One phase of this study developed general methodologies and test programs to ensure proper performance of the technique. A second phase focused on reinforcement of an L-1011 door frame, and encompassed all lifetime tasks such as design, analysis, installation, and nondestructive inspection. This paper overviews the project and details the activities conducted to gain FAA approval for composite doubler use. Structural tests evaluated the damage tolerance and fatigue performance of composite doublers while finite element models were generated to study doubler design issues. Nondestructive inspection procedures were developed and validated using full-scale test articles. Installation dry-runs demonstrated the viability of applying composite doublers in hangar environments. The project`s documentation package was used to support installation of a Boron-Epoxy composite repair on a Delta Air Lines L-1011 aircraft. A second product of the results is a Lockheed Service Bulletin which allows the door corner composite doubler to be installed on all L-1011 aircraft. 9 refs., 10 figs., 2 tabs.
Date: July 1, 1997
Creator: Roach, D.P.
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