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Tiltrotor Research Aircraft composite blade repairs - Lessons learnedThe XV-15, N703NA Tiltrotor Research Aircraft located at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, currently uses a set of composite rotor blades of complex shape known as the advanced technology blades (ATBs). The main structural element of the blades is a D-spar constructed of unidirectional, angled fiberglass/graphite, with the aft fairing portion of the blades constructed of a fiberglass cross-ply skin bonded to a Nomex honeycomb core. The blade tip is a removable laminate shell that fits over the outboard section of the spar structure, which contains a cavity to retain balance weights. Two types of tip shells are used for research. One is highly twisted (more than a conventional helicopter blade) and has a hollow core constructed of a thin Nomex-honeycomb-and-fiberglass-skin sandwich; the other is untwisted with a solid Nomex honeycomb core and a fiberglass cross-ply skin. During initial flight testing of the blades, a number of problems in the composite structure were encountered. These problems included debonding between the fiberglass skin and the honeycomb core, failure of the honeycomb core, failures in fiberglass splices, cracks in fiberglass blocks, misalignment of mated composite parts, and failures of retention of metal fasteners. Substantial time was spent in identifying and repairing these problems. Discussed here are the types of problems encountered, the inspection procedures used to identify each problem, the repairs performed on the damaged or flawed areas, the level of criticality of the problems, and the monitoring of repaired areas. It is hoped that this discussion will help designers, analysts, and experimenters in the future as the use of composites becomes more prevalent.
Document ID
19930030822
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Espinosa, Paul S. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Groepler, David R. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: Composites Engineering
Volume: 2
Issue: 7-May
ISSN: 0961-9526
Subject Category
AERONAUTICS (GENERAL)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 505-61-51
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other