Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Seeing inside the nose of an aircraft

Date:
April 26, 2012
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
The "radar dome," the rounded nose of the aircraft contains important equipment that pilots need to monitor. If errors occur during the production of this "nose," -- tiny foreign particles, drops of water or air bubbles -- this can impede radio traffic. In the future, a non-destructive testing system will identify just such imperfections during production.

This terahertz measurement system for non-destructive testing measures the thickness of multi-layered plastic films at a rate of 40 times per second.
Credit: © Fraunhofer IPM

The "radar dome," the rounded nose of the aircraft contains important equipment that pilots need to monitor. But if errors occur during the production of this "nose," -- tiny foreign particles, drops of water or air bubbles -- this can impede radio traffic. In the future, a non-destructive testing system will identify just such imperfections during production.

Researchers will be presenting the new testing system at the Control trade fair, May 8-11 in Stuttgart.

The nose of the aircraft, the "radar dome," is made of a fiberglass composite. But if even tiniest imperfections arise during production -- if, for instance, little foreign particles, drops of water or air bubbles become enclosed in the resin -- over time they can cause fine cracks through which moisture can seep. This causes  problems.

As part of the Dotnac project, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM in Kaiserslautern are working with partners in industry and research to develop a new testing system: the system uses terahertz waves to completely scan the aircraft nose, which is several centimeters thick, and immediately identify any flaws. The frequency of terahertz waves falls between that of microwaves on the one hand and infrared light on the other.

They are considered completely harmless to humans. The waves are generated in a rolling cabinet not unlike those found in many offices: it contains a microwave source and all electronics to control the system and to collect the data. A frequency mixer multiplies the frequency of the microwave radiation generated into the terahertz range. Researchers have connected the actual measurement module to this container by means of electrical wires. This module emits the terahertz waves toward the radar dome. The material reflects the radiation, and the detector integrated in this module analyzes the reflected terahertz radiation. If there are any air bubbles or little imperfections embedded in the material, they turn up in the reflected signal.

The main challenge facing researchers was to find out which terahertz frequencies they would have to use to bombard the material to achieve the most effective results for the various imperfections. Higher frequencies create better resolution, while lower frequencies have less difficulty penetrating the material. The researchers select from a range of different frequencies depending on the errors the researchers are looking for in the case concerned. The scientists have already developed a prototype of the testing system.

Around a year from now, the scanner will have advanced to the point that it will scan and analyze aircraft noses automatically. Thus far, simple scanners for level and rotations symmetrical objects are available.

Researchers have come up with another terahertz testing system as well, one that analyzes the thickness of layers -- such as are found on aircraft and cars. "Our terahertz measuring system is one of the few robust enough for industrial use," according to Dr. Joachim Jonuscheit, deputy head of department at Fraunhofer IPM. Just like the system that checks aircraft noses, this one also consists of a rolling cabinet along with a transmitter and a receiver connected to the container by cables five meters long. This system works with very short terahertz pulses. Each pulse is partially reflected off of the interfaces of the layers: the surface of the first layer, the interface between layer one and two, and so on. The deeper the layer reflecting the pulses, the longer the pulses take to return to the detector. Using the time each pulse takes to make its way back to the detector, built-in software automatically calculates the thickness of the various layers.

The system's great advantage is its robustness. But how did researchers accomplish this? "First of all, we no longer shoot the laser that excites the system by open beam as typically used in terahertz systems; instead, we feed it through optical fibers. And secondly, we have fixed and arranged the optical elements to make them mechanically robust. We have also improved the manufacturing processes for the semiconductor components -- the transmitters and detectors -- to make the individual elements more resistant," Jonuscheit explains. At the Control trade fair, the researchers will demonstrate live measurements on multi-layered plastic films of varying thicknesses.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Seeing inside the nose of an aircraft." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120426104950.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2012, April 26). Seeing inside the nose of an aircraft. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120426104950.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Seeing inside the nose of an aircraft." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120426104950.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) — 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) — Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Car Market on the Rebound?

Europe's Car Market on the Rebound?

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) — Daimler kicks off a round of second-quarter earnings results from Europe's top carmakers with a healthy set of numbers - prompting hopes that stronger sales in Europe will counter weakness in emerging markets. Hayley Platt reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins