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Continuous health monitoring and non-destructive assessment of composites and composite repairs on surface transport applications (ComPair)
Start date: 01 Sep 2008, End date: 30 Nov 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Composites are used in a wide range of applications in surface transport. Damage to composite components in vehicles and surface transport applications is not always visible to the naked eye and the extent of damage is best determined for structural components by suitable non-destructive and evaluation (NDT & E) techniques. A detailed NDT and/or health monitoring procedure for proper damage assessment needs to be performed. This involves identification of the nature of the damage, its position and its extent, during different phases of the material and/or structure, i.e. during manufacturing and assembly, as well as during maintenance and repair. One can also locate damage by simply tapping the composite’s surface and listening to the sound (boundary between good and damaged composite can easily be mapped to identify the area for repair). Inspection for composite damage should be included in the regular maintenance schedules for composite structures. Nonetheless, particular attention should be made to areas that are more prone to damage by using continuous health monitoring approaches, as well as prompt and reliable NDT approaches. Transient thermal NDT is a prompt and reliable approach and has the ability to provide quantitative information about hidden defects – features in composite materials and/or structures. Analysing the transient temperature in the time domain typically attains this. Furthermore, since most damage to fibre-reinforced composites is a result of low velocity and sometimes high-velocity impact, 3-D laser micro-topography could also be used for the surface morphology and analysis of the composites. The SMEs and RTOs in this project are proposing to bring their expertise in composites assessment and/or NDT & E and in partnership with the LEs – Public Bodies who also have great expertise in the field of composites and/or surface transport and/or NDT.
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