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DIMES tests innovative monitoring system for next-gen aircraft

DIMES tests innovative monitoring system for next-gen aircraftA prototype measurement system for monitoring the condition of aircraft structures has been installed in a full-scale test rig at EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) in Duebendorf, outside Zurich, under Clean Sky 2’s DIMES project. The test rig consists a section of an A320 wing which was delivered to the laboratories of EMPA by Airbus, the Topic Manager for DIMES. The specimen was installed in the test-bench by early November 2019, with the first results from the integrated measurement system coming in early 2020.

The aim of the DIMES project is to mature and validate disruptive technologies for use in next-generation aircraft. Specifically, it plans to develop and demonstrate an automated measurement system that integrates a range of measurement approaches to enable damage and cracks to be detected and monitored as they originate at multi-material interfaces in an aircraft assembly.

There is some pre-existing damage in the wing section installed at EMPA and the hope is that it will propagate during the test allowing the prototype systems to track it using visible and infra-red spectrum cameras as well as electrical and optical sensors. The data being collected during the test will allow the consortium to develop their data processing algorithms and, if necessary, refine the system design. The final stage of the DIMES project will involve installing a series of the novel systems in a complete wing undergoing a structural test in the new Airbus Wing Integration Centre (AWIC) in Filton, near Bristol in the UK.

The DIMES consortium consists of the University of Liverpool as coordinator, EMPA, Dantec Dynamics GmbH, and Strain Solutions Ltd. The project which started in January 2019 has a total budget of €1.3 million and is scheduled to finish in December 2020.