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    Installation of Adhesively Bonded Composites to Repair Carbon Steel Structure

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    In the past decade, an advanced composite repair technology has made great strides in commercial aviation use. Extensive testing and analysis, through joint programs between the Sandia Labs FAA Airworthiness Assurance Center and the aviation industry, have proven that composite materials can be used to repair damaged aluminum structure. Successful pilot programs have produced flight performance history to establish the viability and durability of bonded composite patches as a permanent repair on commercial aircraft structures. With this foundation in place, efforts are underway to adapt bonded composite repair technology to civil structures. This paper presents a study in the application of composite patches on large trucks and hydraulic shovels typically used in mining operations. Extreme fatigue, temperature, erosive, and corrosive environments induce an array of equipment damage. The current weld repair techniques for these structures provide a fatigue life that is inferior to that of the original plate. Subsequent cracking must be revisited on a regular basis. It is believed that the use of composite doublers, which do not have brittle fracture problems such as those inherent in welds, will help extend the structure's fatigue life and reduce the equipment downtime. Two of the main issues for adapting aircraft composite repairs to civil applications are developing an installation technique for carbon steel structure and accommodating large repairs on extremely thick structures. This paper will focus on the first phase of this study which evaluated the performance of different mechanical and chemical surface preparation techniques. The factors influencing the durability of composite patches in severe field environments will be discussed along with related laminate design and installation issues.


    composite doubler repairs, adhesive joint, Boron-Epoxy

    Author Information:

    Roach, D
    Sandia National Labs, Albuquerque, NM

    Rackow, K
    Sandia National Labs, Albuquerque, NM

    Dunn, D
    Sandia National Labs, Albuquerque, NM

    Committee/Subcommittee: D30.05

    DOI: 10.1520/STP12587S