Composite materials are widely used in aerospace applications where their inherent advantages over metal alloys, e.g. high strength to weight ratio and corrosion resistance mean that in many parts of the aircraft they are the preferred material. One of the areas in which composites perform badly, however, is inresistance tohigh temperatureexposure. It is often difficult to determine the extent of fire damage and the resulting effect on structural integrity from visual inspection alone. To this end, Fen Technology USA is in the process of developinga rapid multi-physics tool that willpredict the extent of damage incomposite partsfrom a given high temperature exposure event.The tool considers both thermo-chemical and mechanical modeling to predict the structural integrity of the part following high temperature exposure.Once the full finite element modelling process has been validated this will then be further developed in a reduced order modelling (ROM) framework to decrease the run-time.
This tool will be of interest to companies involved in the maintenance andrepair of modern civil and military aircraft where composite panels form a significant part of the structure.It may also be of interest in other safety critical industries where composite materials are used such as in boats and small ships. This will save them a significant amount of time and cost in diagnosing the effects of heat damage on the composite panels.