AFP monocoque composite tailboom full scale fatigue testing

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Proceedings titleForum 70 : Americam Helicopter Society
ConferenceAHS 70th Annual Forum, May 20–22, 2014, Montréal, Québec, Canada
AbstractThis paper describes two phases of full scale testing performed on a Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited (BHTCL) composite monocoque tailboom manufactured using Automated Fiber Placement (AFP). This technical demonstrator tailboom was designed for use on a Bell 407 model as part of a collaboration program with Bombardier Inc., Composite Atlantic Ltd. and the National Research Council Canada (NRC). The tailboom cone consisted of a skin made from an AFP layup of carbon epoxy fiber tape combined to a hand layup made from fabric. The skin is then bonded to six hand layup frames. The fatigue test objectives were to validate the component to flaw tolerant safe life requirements and establish damage tolerance to light and medium caliber ballistic impacts. The test article, containing embedded flaws, impact damages, and representative repairs, was subjected to a full four lifetime fatigue test at NRC. All testing during this phase was conducted at 250 °F ‘hot-dry’ conditions to simulate operating temperatures seen in service. The test article successfully sustained four lifetimes of fatigue testing, followed by residual strength testing to both limit and ultimate loads. In the second phase of the full scale testing, the article was subjected to six ballistic impacts with deadweights replicating a critical load condition in the field, interspersed with short ‘go-home’ fatigue cycling in the laboratory. Regular inspections and near-real-time data analyses were performed throughout testing. No permanent deformation, new damage or existing damage growth was sustained by the tested composite components during the fatigue tests, subsequent residual strength tests, or fatigue loads following ballistic impact, thereby proving the flaw and damage tolerance capability of the structure.
Publication date
AffiliationAerospace; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21275915
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Record identifierd18da899-bcbd-4f62-8200-20b9f34598c0
Record created2015-08-05
Record modified2016-05-09
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