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Evaluating Effectiveness in Bonded Repair Techniques for Aircraft Structures using Finite Element Simulations
  • Qida Bing,
  • Xingshi Wang,
  • Lucy Zhang
Qida Bing
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Xingshi Wang
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Lucy Zhang
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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Finite element simulations of bonded repair technology can greatly reduce the cost of repairing ageing and damaged aircraft structures. In this study, finite element simulation and analysis are performed for several bonded repair techniques of damaged aircraft structures with cracks. The simulations start from fatigue damage accumulation, crack initiation, crack repair, to fatigue crack re-initiation until structural failure. The effectiveness of bonded repair techniques is assessed by comparing the service lives of no repair, patch-bonded repair (live repair), stop-drill repair, and damage removal repair. It is found that the load attraction by repair patch can greatly sustain fatigue crack growth, leading to more than at least 2 times longer service life before the skin structure needs to be replaced. Damage removal bonded repair can further extend service life by more than 20 times comparing to no repair, benefiting from the fatigue damage tolerant service life extension. Along with the service life comparison, we also established a simulation framework that lays out the groundwork to perform aerostructure bonded repair effectiveness evaluation. The results demonstrate that finite element analysis can be efficiently used to simulate the various forms of bonded repairs and effectively evaluate fatigue crack growth and service life with structural damage. Such a rigorous simulation framework enables the future design of new repair techniques for aircraft structures.