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Aeronautics: INEGI, SAFRAN and Kistler Group together to improve adhesive monitoring and compliance with international rules

13 July 2021
A team of researchers from INEGI is developing an innovative methodology to detect, locate and quantify poor adhesion in adhesive parts of aeronautical structures. The project is a partnership with SAFRAN, a multinational company that operates in the aeronautics and defense sector, and the Kistler Group, which develops measurement systems and sensors, among other technologies.

The innovative character of the study is based on the use of Lamb waves, which, for the first time, should allow the industry to respond to the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the USA, in terms of monitoring the structural integrity of adhesive joints .

Lamb waves, as António Mendes Lopes, responsible for the project, explains, "are a particular type of guided waves that propagate through materials and are sensitive to structural damage. Through these waves we can collect data on premature failures, impossible to detect by others methods, such as poor adherence".

Durability of adhesive connections is a priority

At a time when the aeronautics sector is investing on new materials, the need to create alternative connection methods is imperative. Adhesive joints gain relevance in this context, with properties superior to other bonding methods, helping to reduce the weight of aircraft and other aircraft.

However, there are obstacles to its application in aeronautics. According to António Mendes Lopes, "current safety regulations require reliable non-destructive testing techniques for each glued piece, and existing methods are not yet good enough to guarantee structural integrity and human safety".

To improve this context, INEGI's team of specialists will adapt Lamb wave data processing techniques to the reality of aeronautical activity, which implies taking into account electromagnetic noise, environmental disturbances and the complexity of physical mechanisms. At the same time, the team will develop data processing algorithms and deep learning algorithms for data interpretation.

For António Mendes Lopes, this work "will encourage the use of adhesives in aeronautics, a crucial industry for the economic development of Portugal".
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