036 – “Integrated Aircraft Sensor Network for Real Time Contaminant Detection”

Author: Jeff Demo
Company: Luna Innovations
Phone: (434) 220-9443
Email: demoj@lunainc.com

Environmental and chemical contaminant accumulation within airframes can result in corrosion, coating degradation, equipment damage, and reduced aircraft readiness. Aircraft structures are composed of a wide range of contaminant and corrosion susceptible materials including aluminum, steel, and titanium alloys, as well as composites and specialty coatings. Ingress of contaminants into the structure, occluded areas, and crevices can breakdown protective coatings, initiate localized corrosion, and eventually compromise the functionality or structural integrity of the system, component, or airframe. To better identify the presence of destructive contaminants, an Integrated Aircraft Sensor Network for Real Time Contaminant Detection has been developed to identify the species and concentration of a range of corrosive airframe contaminants. Coupled with a point-of-maintenance corrosion management tool (ICARR-3D) created by development partner Mercer Engineering Research Center, the system provides an end-to-end solution for locating, identifying, and tracking airframe contamination and corrosion. Use of the system allows for improved monitoring of individual aircraft contamination and corrosion as well as fleet-wide trend analyses and condition management. By tracking environmental conditions and contaminants within targeted areas of airframes and identifying both temporal and geographical patterns of exposure, maintainers may reduce operational costs, increase maintenance efficiency, and improve aircraft readiness.

This material is based upon work supported by the AFSC/PCIOA under Contract No FA8501-15-C-0016. Technical points of contact with the Air Force on this effort are Alan Fletcher and Frank Zahiri.