Challenges on smart airplane structures maintenance presented at ECCM18
Today the ReMAP1 programme was presented at the 18th European Conference on Composite Materials in Athens. ReMAP is a fouryear European programme to make airplane maintenance smarter using conditionbased maintenance instead of fixed-interval inspections. Professor Theodoros Loutas of the University of Patras (Greece) outlined the research questions of the ReMAP-project concerning the composite elements of the structure of the airplane in a keynote presentation under the title “Towards the prognosis of the remaining useful life (RUL) of composite structures utilizing health monitoring data and probabilistic models – present challenges and future vision”. Structural health monitoring is an underdeveloped concept in practice. This project is a trial for how it could evolve in the future. A complex set of techniques will be tested in the lab of TU Delft (The Netherlands) and the University of Patras (Greece), such as data-driven machine learning, real-time damage monitoring and Remaining Useful Life (RUL) estimation utilizing sophisticated probabilistic algorithms.
There are three levels of testing in ReMAP the so-called ‘hierarchical testing’. In this way the ReMAP-researchteam tries to come as close as possible to the real aircraft structures, which they do not test. All three levels involve testing articles that are different levels of approach of the same structure i.e. wing panels. Since real wing panels cannot be tested complexity is reduced in each level to deduce what happens in real scale. Loutas:”Research dedicated to the estimation of remaining useful life of structures has been limited and, until today, has only been demonstrated in coupons. With ReMAP we want to find out how feasible is confident Remaining Useful Life (RUL) estimation based on Structural Health Management (SHM) data in generic element and subcomponent level. How reliable are data-driven prognostic methodologies when applied to complex structures under realistic fatigue loads. How anomalous operations phenomena, such as impacts and low velocity collisions, can affect the RUL.”
Researchers of the University of Patras and TU Delft will perform lab tests on structures initially using basic stiffener panels and then increasing their complexity to curved multi-stiffener panels with ribs and fasteners. The focus will be on the composite elements of the structure of the airplane. They will continue the development of sensor technologies and optimize their placement with respect to the panels.
1 Real-time Condition-based Maintenance for Adaptive Aircraft Maintenance Planning’. This project started June 2018. The project has received funding from the European Commision’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.