What is Composite:
The term composite is used to describe two or more materials that are combined to form a much stronger structure than either material by itself.  The most simple composite is composed of the elements: a matrix (fabric) which serves as a bonding substance (adhesives or resins), and a reinforcing material. Prior to combination, the matrix is generally in liquid form and the reinforcing material is a solid. When the substances are combined and cured, the part is stronger than fabric is by itself, and stronger than the resin is by itself.

Modern composites are advanced to the point that they are strong enough to be used in primary airframe components like rudders and floor beams. In some cases the whole airframe is designed of advanced composite materials. Composites are used because overall properties of the composites are superior to those of the individual components. While the structural value of a bundle of fibres is low, the strength of individual fibres can be harnessed if they are embedded in a matrix that acts as an adhesive, binding the fibres together and lending solidity to the material.

The rigid fibres impart structural strength to the composite, while the matrix protects the fibres from environmental stress and physical damage and imparts thermal stability to them. The fibre-matrix combination also reduces the potential for a complete fracture; if one fibre fails the crack may not extend to other fibres, whereas a crack that starts in a monolithic (or single) material generally continues to propagate until that material fails.

Such materials exhibit enhanced strength only along the direction of the fibres. the fibres are woven into a three-dimensional structure in which they lie along three mutually perpendicular axes. each of which is reinforced by long fibres laid down in a single direction. To produce composites that are strong in all directions. . Most conventional composites resemble plywood in that they are built in thin layers.

however. where their stiffness. wings. Composite materials are also used in rackets and other sports equipment. and in certain parts of automotive engines. in cutting tools. Composites are of greatest use in the aerospace industry. and heat resistance make them the materials of choice in reinforcing the engine cowls. doors. . and flaps of aircraft. . lightness.


such as General Electric`s F-404 engine. Unfortunately. have resulted in substantial reductions in both engine weight and manufacturing costs. Commercially available state-of-the-art high-temperature PMCs.  . the low thermal-oxidation stability of PMCs severely limits the extent of their application. such as graphite fiber/PMR15 and graphite fiber/PMR-11-55. Recent applications of PMCs in aircraft propulsion systems.Polymer-matrix composites  (PMCs) are the lightest of the three types of composite materials. are capable of withstanding thousands of hours of use at temperatures between 290 and 345°C).

including chemical incompatibility and CTE mismatch between potential reinforcing fibers and matrix materials. Composite fabrication and joining processes that do not result in excessive fiber/matrix reaction or matrix contamination is an additional need. and marginal high-temperature oxidation resistance of intermetallic materials.Metallic-matrix composites  Several major problems limit the development of inter-metallic-matrix composites (IMCs). poor low-temperature ductility. .

 Ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) combine reinforcing ceramic phases with a ceramic matrix to create materials with new and superior properties. .Ceramic-matrix composites. the primary goal of the ceramic reinforcement is to provide toughness to an otherwise brittle ceramic matrix. thermal conductivity. Fillers can also be added to the ceramic matrix during processing to enhance characteristics such as electrical conductivity. and hardness. thermal expansion. In ceramic matrix composites.

and versatility in providing unique engineering solutions. high corrosion resistance. high hardness. nonmagnetic and nonconductive properties. high thermal shock resistance. . The desirable characteristics of CMCs include high-temperature stability. light weight. The combination of these characteristics makes ceramic matrix composites attractive alternatives to traditional processing industrial materials such as high alloy steels and refractory metals.

PROPERTIES (Advantages & Disadvantages) CHRISTIAN .

Advantages .

         High strength to weight ratio (low density high tensile strength) High tensile strength at elevated temperatures High toughness Light Weight Chemical Resistance/ Corrosion resistance Colour Translucency Design flexibility Manufacturing economy .

     Expense Application Processability Reduction of parts and fasteners Fire resistant .

Disadvantages .

General expensive  Not easy to repair  .


depending on the application. There are several types of reinforcing fibres. Fibreglass weighs more and has strength than most other fibre material. There are many different weaves of fiberglass available. The wide range of application of the material and its low cost make it one of the most popular used. the most commonly used are outlined as follows:  Fibreglass – Fibreglass is made from small strands of molten silica glass and then spun together and woven into cloth.REINFORCING MATERIALS General: When combined with a matrix. the reinforcing material (fibres) are what give the major strength to the composite components.   .

It has the problem of being corrosive when bonded to aluminium.Aramid – Aramid fibres are general characterized by its yellow colour. however it is more brittle than Kevlar. light weight and its excellent tensile strength. It is also used in bullet-proofvests. be repaired with fiberglass.  Graphite – Black graphite/carbon fibre is very strong and stiff and is used for its rigid. Aramid is a registered tradename of the Du Pont Company and is an ideal material for aircraft parts that are subject to high stress and vibration (e. strong properties. rotor blades).  . in general. Graphite is stronger in compressive strength than Kevlar. This material is used to manufacture primary structural components like ribs and floor beams. Damage to Aramid Structural components will.g.

heat resistant.MATRIX MATERIALS    General: The matrix is the bonding material the completely surrounds the fibre to give strength and transfer the stress to the fibre. Most of these newer matrix materials are epoxy resins. chemical resistant and durability properties. . The newer matrix materials have good stress-distribution. Resin matrix are two-part systems consisting of a resin and a hardener or catalyst. which acts as curing agent.

Most composite structural components are made from thermoset resins. That means. Resins are a type of plastic and are broken down into two categories:   Thermoplastic – Thermoplastic resins use heat to form the part into a specified shape. once formed. Thermoplastic Thermoset . and this shape in not permanent. So Thermoplastics can only be used in areas where the temperature do not exceed 750°F. if we add heat again it will flow again to another shape. cannot be reformed even if it is heated. The plastic. Thermosets – Thermoset use heat to form and set the shape permanently.

Epoxy Resins – Epoxy resins are one type of thermosetting plastic resin. strength and resistance to moisture and chemical properties. They are used to bond non-porous and dissimilar materials. like metal to composite components.  . They have good adhesion.  Prepeg – Prepeg is the abbreviation of pre-impregnated fabrics. and they are fabrics that have the resin already impregnated into them.




they cure) when they are heated. These plastics also resist wear and attack by chemicals making them very durable. (The use of plastics in the matrix explains the name 'reinforced plastics' commonly given to composites). many modern composites use thermosetting or thermosoftening plastics (also called resins). The plastics are polymers that hold the reinforcement together and help to determine the physical properties of the end product.  Thermosetting plastics are liquid when prepared but harden and become rigid (ie. so that these materials do not become soft under high temperatures.  .For Matrix: For the matrix. even when exposed to extreme environments. The setting process is irreversible.

ceramics are used when the material is going to be exposed to high temperatures (eg.  Ceramics. long shelf life of the raw material. are hard at low temperatures but soften when they are heated.Thermosoftening plastics. bearings and gears). capacity for recycling and a cleaner. For example. safer workplace because organic solvents are not needed for the hardening process.  . carbon and metals are used as the matrix for some highly specialised purposes. Although they are less commonly used than thermosetting plastics they do have some advantages. as the name implies. heat exchangers) and carbon is used for products that are exposed to friction and wear (eg. such as greater fracture toughness.

For Reinforcement:  Although glass fibres are by far the most common reinforcement. Carbon fibres are much stronger than glass fibres. Even stronger (and more costly) than carbon fibres are threads of boron. They are used in aircraft structures and in sporting goods (such as golf clubs). many advanced composites now use fine fibres of pure carbon. . and increasingly are used instead of metals to repair or replace damaged bones. Carbon fibre composites are light as well as strong. but are also more expensive to produce.

they also make a good reinforcement material in composites. For example. . Kevlar is a polymer fibre that is immensely strong and adds toughness to a composite. Composite materials were not the original use for Kevlar – it was developed to replace steel in radial tyres and is now used in bulletproof vests and helmets. It is used as the reinforcement in composite products that require lightweight and reliable construction (eg. structural body parts of an aircraft). Polymers are not only used for the matrix.


Safety MAC .

  General: When working with composite materials. . correct safety precautions must be observed. On the MSDS you will find the following information: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Health precautions Flammability of the material Ventilation requirements Information for health professionals in case of an accident. Pay attention to the material safety data sheets (MSDS).

drink or smoke in work areas Do not machine materials without wearing protective clothing and a dust mask. so take care if you are working with these materials and observe the safety precautions: Do not let any of the materials come into contact with your skin or with your clothes Do not inhale vapors Do not wash your skin with powerful solvents Do not eat. .Safety Precautions  Some of the materials are very dangerous and can cause allergic reactions.


a complete investigation of the affected area is to be carried out. . and before any further repair work is performed. the applicable type of repair.  General: When damage is discovered on a composite structural part.  The investigation of damage is done using the related chapters and pages of the SRM (Structural Repair Manual) in order to determine whether the damage is repairable or not. and if so.

extent and importance of the affected zone. the damage acceptance level may be determined.  Damage Evaluation A complete inspection of the damaged area or component will give the required information concerning the extent and type of damage. Depending on the type. or in unscheduled inspections when the part has been subjected to accidental damage. Damage Detection Damage may be discovered during scheduled inspections required by the maintenance program. .

it is necessary to initially determine whether the damage is: Allowable Repairable or Not – repairable . Acceptance Level  In order to define the applicable repair type and its associated limits (time and size).

.  General: For composites surfaces (as per the SRM). damage is divided into two main categories: Skin not-perforated damage Skin perforated damage.


 Skin not-perforated damage includes: Abrasion Scratches Gouges Nicks Debonding Delamination Dents .

 Skin perforated damage includes: ◦ Lightning strikes ◦ Holes ◦ Impact by foreign object. . requiring investigation for delamination moisture contamination.

in order to avoid any fluid ingress. Abrasion  Abrasion is damage to a surface caused by scuffing. Fibres are not damaged and mechanical performance is not affected. Abrasion damage is repaired by restoration of the surface protection. . rubbing or scrapping of the component.

In this case it is the aluminium ally part (e. . Corrosion  Galvanic corrosion may occur when an aluminium alloy part is in direct contact with a carbon fibre surface in the presence of a corrosive environment. lightning strike protection straps) which corrodes and which needs replacing or repaired if possible. fitting.g.

Erosion. especially when the initial surface protection system has been damaged. .  Erosion Erosion could affect all the leading edge surfaces. The component may be completely perforated and fluid ingress likely to occur. may generate composite deterioration. Restore the protection of the area and install additional protection if necessary. when undetected or unrepaired.

several plies are affected. Gouges affect structural strength and have to repaired by removing the damaged plies and performing a hand lay-up.  Scratches / Gouges A scratch is the result of contact with a sharp object and only surface fibres are affected. While a gouge is wider and deeper than a scratch. but the edges of a gouge are generally smooth. For scratches in general. only surface restoration is necessary to prevent any fluid ingress. .

It reduces performance and increases the weight of the affected structure. . ensure that repair parts are completely dry. Water ingress in sandwich structures is due to porosity of the skin. Water absorption is a phenomenon of resin properties. During any repair procedure. in order to avoid any material delamination during heat application. The absorption stops once the resin is saturated.   Water Absorption Any detected moisture has to be removed to avoid further damage.

 Chemical Degradation  Chemical degradation principally affects the resin and is generally due to accidental contact with aggressive chemical liquids or products. . In case of chemical degradation detection. the whole contaminated area must be repaired.

. On sandwich structure. It may be caused by impact. the honeycomb is generally damaged and requires a repair. Dent/ Depression  A depression or a dent is a deformity in the thickness of an area. This type of defect requires further NDT investigation to detect delamination or debonding.

Damage on carbon fibre structures will be less significant (sports. if not completely protected. Aramid) a large part of the component.  Lightning Strike Damage Carbon fibre is a conductive material while glass or Aramid fibres are non-conductive materials. The effect of a lightning strike will not be the same for non-conductive materials. or charring).  . may be blown out because both skins are affected and the core generally vaporized due to the extreme heat. (glass. small holes.

recommended repair types and repair associated limitations. Delamination or debonding can be used by impact. as well as initial thickness.  Allowable damage For each of the defined zones. Damage type and dimensions. a graphic is to be used to determine allowable damage limits. Visual inspection is the principal method for damage detection. abnormal loading or an undetected manufacturing defect. have to be know in order to select and work with these graphics. THE COMPRESSION STRENGTH OF THE COMPONENT IS AFFECTED AND WATER OR FLUID INGRESS IS VERY LIKELY TO OCCUR.  . NOTE: SUCH DAMAGE IS NOT ALWAYS VISIBLE ON THE SURFACE.

For delaminated/debonded area of determination. the inspection area must be extended until the limits of the affected zone are located. In case of indication.  Extent of Damage Close visual and non-destructive testing methods such as tap-testing. a minimum inspection area is defined. ultrasonic and X-Rays are used to determine the amount of damage.  .

.  Surfaces Zones As damage is not of the same significance in each area of the component. each composite surface of the aircraft is divided into zones of different structural importance.

 REPAIR TYPES General:  Recommended repairs can be of three types:  ◦ Temporary repairs Permanent cosmetic repairs Permanent structural repairs .

This will ensure the maximum bonding strength and durability. it is necessary to ensure that the surface of the repair area has been correctly prepared.  PREPARATION BEFORE REPAIR Before any repair action can be performed. .

 INSPECTION OF COMPOSITE MATERIALS Tap Testing Visual or Optical Inspection Holography Acoustic Emission Ultrasonic Radiography       .

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