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Title: The application of X-ray computed tomography in aerospace industry : innovation report
Author: Kourra, Nadia
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 0091
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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In the 2015 report of ‘The aerospace industry: statistics and policy’, UK Government presents the aerospace industry as “phenomenal success story” with “tremendous opportunities for growth” (Rhodes, et al., 2015). The success of this sector depends on high efficiency and productivity levels while maintaining quality and satisfying market demands which request aircraft to stay safely in service for longer with reduced maintenance budgets. One of the strategic objectives of the aerospace companies is continuous improvement of the technologies and engineering capabilities. X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) is a growing Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) method with various applications in several sectors of industry. CT collects numerous radiographs that are then reconstructed to create a 3D model of the examined object. The results demonstrate the outer and inner structure of the part including any defects, altered densities and hidden constructions in the case of Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) parts. Product development in the aerospace industry is a challenging task with significant risks that are handled by complex processes for quality control. The product development steps in this industry follow the products from concept to manufacturing and from service to disposal. This project examines the capabilities and limitations of CT in order to identify potential applications in this sector by considering all of the stages of development. Several case studies demonstrate its application in the research and development phase of composite design and machining selection as well as in the production phase with metrological and non-destructive evaluation applications. Finally, the application of CT in failure investigations and forensic examinations, close to the end of the life and disposal of the product was also considered. The results of these investigations demonstrate the possibilities of this technology as well as its limitations and led the sponsoring company to purchase a digital radiography system with CT capabilities. The presented investigations answer the research question of ‘How can CT be applicable in aerospace industry?’ by identifying the product development phases where CT is applicable. The developed innovative methods provide CT inspections and measurements while reducing human error. They identify the capabilities and limitations of this technology and develop improved scanning methods and standard operating procedures. This report summarises the results of these investigations that clearly demonstrate the potential applications of this technology as well as their limitations while it also introduces and demonstrates innovative methods to overcome these limitations. The innovation of this project is in the novel methods that allow this technology to be used in this industrial sector and provide the required results that are unobtainable with other NDT methods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council ; BAE Systems
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Eng.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics