Quality Control for Additive Manufacturing Parts Using Non-Destructive Testing

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is growing in importance as a fabrication process for the space industry, enabling weight and cost savings through optimized designs for components. The use of AM gives aerospace engineers an alternative to more traditional manufacturing processes, but also retains the challenge of producing parts without defects. These problems can be approached using nondestructive methods such as X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) and Finite Element Modelling (FEM) to inspect geometries and quantify the impact of defects on the mechanical properties of a part, taking into account factors such as internal stress from metal cooling during fabrication.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace

Developing a Conformal Coating Process for Aerospace Applications

Conformal coatings protect electronic circuits from harsh environments via a chemical film that “conforms” to a circuit board’s topography. These coatings protect against moisture, chemicals, contamination, vibration, corrosion, and thermal stress while improving product reliability by reducing failures. The benefits conformal coating can provide often vary in importance by industry. In aerospace electronics there is an emphasis on benefits of protection from corrosive gasses, outgassing, tin whiskers, and radiation. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on liquid coating materials.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace

Designing With MIL-STD-1553B Components

The interconnected backbone of a MIL-STD-1553B vehicle depends on the electrical and mechanical reliability of the components, the design, and the installation. With the vast array of MIL-STD-1553B specified sub-assemblies, there are factors that can go overlooked for passive components such as couplers, cables, and connectors. Often built with kilometers of wiring, aircraft in particular can be difficult to troubleshoot and must be inspected frequently for potential failures such as intermittent connections, shorts, and corrosion. Still, these passive components that make up the network can be individually assessed to operate with a high level of integrity.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Board-Level Electronics, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management

New Products & Services: December 2017 Aerospace Manufacturing & Fabrication

Metric-Sized Metal Shapes

Parker Steel Company (Maumee, OH) offers metric-sized metals suitable for applications where presized metric parts are needed. Parker Steel’s cold-finished carbon steel, alloyed and high-strength stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass and tool steel bars/shafting, tubing, sheets and plates, angles, channels and tees; and other specialty shapes can be shipped out the same day as ordered with very few exceptions.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Metals, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Simulation Software, Software, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

Identifying and Isolating Signals Using Radio Frequency Photonics

A single antenna can be used for both transmission and reception. To accomplish this, the transmission must be isolated from the reception. In Figure 1, a radio frequency (RF) circulator is connected right after the antenna. The three-port device separates the transmit path from the receive path. After the circulator, a system can be used to identify the frequency of different signals. Once the frequency has been found, a filter with the right pass-band frequency can be used to isolate signals from each other.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Wireless, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics

Using Thermoplastic Composites for Aerospace Applications

Recent advancements in composite production and processing are making thermoplastics a viable option in a wider array of aerospace applications.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Composites, Materials

Improving the Surface Finish of Additive Manufactured Parts

South West Metal Finishing has been working on an additive manufacturing surface treatment process for the last three years and believes it could be the future choice of aircraft manufacturers around the world, such as the likes of Safran, UTC Aerospace and Airbus.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Coatings & Adhesives