A Life-cycle Autonomous Modular System for Aircraft Material State Evaluation and Restoring System

Prof. Michele Meo was Project Coordinator of the Framework 7 ALAMSA project. It brought together experts from across Europe to develop nonlinear imaging techniques and self-monitoring solutions using an innovative class of non- destructive techniques known as Nonlinear Elastic Wave Spectroscopy (NEWS) methods.

These were developed to diagnose manufacturing defects such as porosity, component assembly contact conditions and incipient damage in the form of microcracks, delamination, clapping areas, adhesive bond weakening, thermal and chemical damage. This should offer higher sensitivity and enable imaging of internal areas of aeronautic components that are not accessible by conventional methods.

The project aims were also to develop self-healing composite materials for aircraft structures, which have a built-in capability to restore mechanical properties several times through multiple cycles of healing upon thermal activation, allowing multiple damage occurring at the same location to be “repaired”. Linking novel automatic self-monitoring systems to these smart in-situ “self-repair” mechanisms will allow a continuously monitored and restored material integrity. The automated self-monitoring built-in system will have a multi- level role. It will act as a “trigger mechanism” allowing the discrimination of defects and material failure in a timely manner and be smart enough to compute the degree of malfunction and to assess autonomously in an active and remote mode whether aircraft structures need the intervention of a “self-healing recovery program” for rapid repair and redeployment.

Increasing the efficiency of aircraft maintenance operations, extending the damage tolerance boundaries of materials, reducing materials usage and extending the service life of operating structures should help achieve the challenging environmental targets of the Advisory Council for Aeronautical Research in Europe (ACARE).

The project commenced on 1st November 2012 and finished in October 2016.