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Sensors 2016, 16(6), 866;

RTM Production Monitoring of the A380 Hinge Arm Droop Nose Mechanism: A Multi-Sensor Approach

Department of Material Science and Engineering, Ghent University, Technologiepark 903, 9052 Zwijnaarde, Belgium
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Elsene, Belgium
Centre for Microsystems Technology (CMST), IMEC and Ghent University, Technologiepark 15, 9052 Zwijnaarde, Belgium
Faculty of Applied Engineering, University of Antwerp, Salesianenlaan 90, 2660 Hoboken, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jandro L. Abot
Received: 2 March 2016 / Revised: 27 May 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 14 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Structural Health Monitoring in Polymeric Composites)
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This research presents a case study of production monitoring on an aerospace composite component: the hinge arm of the droop nose mechanism on the Airbus A380 wing leading edge. A sensor network composed of Fibre Bragg Gratings, capacitive sensors for cure monitoring and thermocouples was embedded in its fibre reinforced lay-up and measurements were acquired throughout its Resin Transfer Moulding production process. Two main challenges had to be overcome: first, the integration of the sensor lines in the existing Resin Transfer Moulding mould without modifying it; second, the demoulding of the component without damaging the sensor lines. The proposed embedding solution has proved successful. The wavelength shifts of the Fibre Bragg Gratings were observed from the initial production stages, over the resin injection, the complete curing of the resin and the cooling-down prior to demoulding. The sensors proved to be sensitive to detecting the resin flow front, vacuum and pressure increase into the mould and the temperature increase caused by the resin curing. Measurements were also acquired during the post-curing cycle. Residual strains during all steps of the process were derived from the sensors’ wavelength shift, showing values up to 0.2% in compression. Moreover, the capacitive sensors were able to follow-up the curing degree during the production process. The sensors proved able to detect the resin flow front, whereas thermocouples could not measure an appreciable increase of temperature due to the fact that the resin had the same temperature as the mould. View Full-Text
Keywords: fibre optics; dielectric analysis; composite materials; production monitoring fibre optics; dielectric analysis; composite materials; production monitoring

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Chiesura, G.; Lamberti, A.; Yang, Y.; Luyckx, G.; Van Paepegem, W.; Vanlanduit, S.; Vanfleteren, J.; Degrieck, J. RTM Production Monitoring of the A380 Hinge Arm Droop Nose Mechanism: A Multi-Sensor Approach. Sensors 2016, 16, 866.

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