Daniel Cormier presented his MASc thesis work last Tuesday on “Repair of Conductive Layer on Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composite with Cold Gas Dynamic Spray”. Supervisor Dr. Bert Jodoin was in attendance for the talk.
Carbon fibre reinforced composites are known for their high specific strength-to-weight ratio and are of great interest to the aerospace industry. Incorporating these materials into the fuselage, like in Boeing’s 787 “Dreamliner”, offers considerable weight reduction which increases flying efficiency, and reduces the cost of flying. In flight, aircrafts are often subject to lightning strikes which in the case of composites can result in localized melting given the high resistive nature of the material. Aerospace carbon fibre composites often incorporate a metallic mesh or foil within the composite layers to dissipate the electrical charge through the large aircraft. The damage to the aircraft is minimized but not always eliminated. This research aims to elaborate a practical technique to deposit thin layers of conductive material on the surface of aerospace grade composites. Using Cold Gas Dynamic Spray (CGDS), such coatings could be used to repair damaged components. An experimental research approach used to develop metallic coated composites. Using the CGDS equipment of Centerline (SST-P), specific parameters (such as gas temperature and stagnation pressure) were determined for each type of metallic coating (tin-based & copper-based). The use of bond coats was explored in order to attain the desired coatings. Once optimized, these coatings were evaluated with respect to their corrosive, adhesive, and electrical properties following industry standards.