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Team Works on Cold Spray for Airplane Repair

Monday, April 3, 2017

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Researchers at the University of Akron are working with an Ohio aircraft maintenance firm to develop a cold-spray system for the repair of corroded airplane components that they hope will keep planes structurally sound longer.

Called Supersonic Particle Deposition, the method involves depositing particles onto the metal parts with such force that they immediately bond with the surface. No heating is required, so thermal energy doesn’t alter the surface as it might when using other methods of repair.

SPD on aluminum domino
Images courtesy of University of Akron

Supersonic particle deposition is shown here demonstrated on an aluminum domino.

While the Akron group didn’t invent SPD, they’ve worked to develop a body of evidence that will lead to its approval as a technique for repairing commercial aircraft.

Two Years of Research

Research on the technique, performed with a robotic arm, has been done for the past two years at the university’s Corrosion Engineering program with funding from the state of Ohio and the National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion, a federally funded program associated with the Department of Defense.

SPD robot

Research on the technique, performed with a robotic arm, has been done for the past two years at the university’s Corrosion Engineering program.

In addition to University of Akron researchers, the process has been developed in collaboration with Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services, along with SAFEngineering Inc. and U.S. Technology Aerospace Engineering Corporation.

Seeking FAA Approval

Representatives of the project met last Monday (March 27) with members of the Ohio General Assembly to demonstrate the process, which they hope to get Federal Aviation Administration approval for.

The group hopes that FAA certification will lead to large-scale SPD operations in Ohio.

"This technology in commercial applications creates significant ongoing opportunities for economic advancement in Ohio through advanced manufacturing and job growth," said Greg Smith, director of engineering for Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services.

   

Tagged categories: Aerospace; Colleges and Universities; Industrial powder coating; Research; Research and development; University of Akron

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