The amount of composite material in modern aircraft is staggering – nearly half of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s airframe is made up of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and other composites. These materials contribute to, on average, 20 percent lighter weight designs when compared to aluminum and are directly linked to aircraft efficiency and fuel economy. Life-cycle analysis of composite components demonstrate that they also manage tension loads extremely well, reducing the time between component repair and replacement.
However, when these laminated polymers need to be repaired, they require a completely different set of processes and materials and standardization of these repairs is becoming increasingly important to aircraft operators.
Learn more about composites in the aerospace industry
Because of this, SAE International established the Aerospace Material Standard (AMS) Commercial Aircraft Composite Repair Committee (CACRC) to promote repair standardization across the industry and to provide guidance to composite and bonded structure maintenance, repair, and operation (MRO) providers, airlines, regulators, suppliers, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Later this month – from June 24 to June 28 – the CACRC will meet in Wichita, Kansas to develop understanding of various bonded repair substantiation or validation methods. The discussions will focus on several composite-specific case studies and will include updates from the Composite Materials Handbook Substantiation of Bonded Repairs (SoBR) working group members who have been continuing CACRC’s work to standardize of analysis methods for bonded repairs.
The multi-volume Composite Materials Handbook, known as CMH-17, is a multi-volume handbook published by SAE International developed from the contributions of over 200 materials specialists.
In addition to forwarding the understanding of composite repair substantiation, the meeting will include updates from several CACRC task groups regarding composite materials, design, inspection, procedures, techniques, and training. It will also serve as forum for operators, regulators, MROs, suppliers, and OEMs to discuss current issues involving composite aircraft maintenance, inspection, and training.
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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.
Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at email@example.com.