The Aerospace NDT student challenge is an international competition which is organised by Airbus, Gifas and Safran, and in which different research labs compete.
The goal was to propose a novel Non-Destructive Testing approach and to explicitly demonstrate its superior performance in damage detection and assessment on a complex composite part.
Non-Destructive Testing and Evaluation (NDT&E) is one of the major requirements in aerospace structural design. Appropriate use of NDT guarantees safety in aerospace and is thus a subject of highest attention. The Symposium on NDT in Aerospace has been established in 2008 and is organised on an annual basis to allow to communicate on the latest R&D achievements and to discuss on advanced and improved methods between scientists as well as researchers and industrials.
A novelty this year was the Student Challenge, where mainly postgraduate students had to detect hidden flaws in composite samples. The assignment also included proposing a concept on how to get those damages monitored in the sense of structural health monitoring (SHM), all being inspired by damage tolerant design. Eight teams of four members competed to win the 1st Students Challenge Award.
Very strong research labs from different countries (Germany, Poland, Spain, France, UK … ) participated. The jury consisted of both academia and aerospace industry. The UGent-MMS team used both thermal waves and elastic waves to look inside materials for defects, and was selected as winner because of their excellent defect detection and sizing, highly innovative nature and good practicality under industrial conditions.
The NDT team is a part of the research group Mechanics of Materials and Structures (UGent-MMS), which is within the department Materials, Textiles and Chemical Engineering.
The research leading to this award has been obtained within SBO project DETECT-IV (Grant no. 160455), which fits in the SIM research program MacroModelMat (M3) coordinated by Siemens (Siemens Digital Industries Software, Belgium) and funded by SIM (Strategic Initiative Materials in Flanders) and VLAIO (Flemish government agency Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship). And also within FWO fellowships 1S11520N, 1148018N and 12T5418N.