FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 5, 2016 -The United States Air Force (USAF) recognizes that rising procurement cost and shrinking budgets require sustainment of existing aircraft. An improved life cycle management tool that helps inform sustainment decisions and extends remaining useful life of aircraft is essential for decreasing total ownership costs. To facilitate this effort, the USAF has awarded a new Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to VEXTEC to develop a software that can be used to predict the effect of corrosion on the lifetime assessment of airborne systems.
Quantification of corrosion damage is important to the management of the structural integrity of an airframe, and current corrosion damage modeling methods are expensive and provide only rough estimates of damage. Cracking due to corrosion is a complex problem that needs to integrate multiple physics-of-failure modes for accurate simulation of the damage state and better prediction of failure risk. VEXTEC’s Virtual Life Management® (VLM®) proprietary software is a multi-disciplinary, multi-scale systems engineering software in which failure models are developed for all of the important components in a system, such as an airframe. The result of this Phase II program will be an integrated computational software that combines state-of-the-art corrosion and structural integrity models, and demonstrates prediction of a corrosion-assisted failure on an aircraft component.
“VEXTEC is in an extraordinary position to develop a probabilistic corrosion assisted cracking tool capable of determining the locations and intervals for inspection of current aircraft along with improving the structural designs for future aircraft,” stated Dr. Animesh Dey, VEXTEC Chief Product Development Officer (CPDO). “VLM services and software have helped clients accelerate product development, reduce physical testing costs, improve product designs and material specification during development, and helped clients resolve field performance issues.”
It is envisioned that the software will be used to optimize inspection and maintenance of aging aircraft. It will also aid in the design of corrosion-tolerant structures. The capability will enhance the overall scope of VLM to become a general purpose, multi-disciplinary virtual design, analysis and inspection tool. VEXTEC will work closely with the USAF, in particular the Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) managers in this Phase II. The collaboration will help to commercialize the technology being developed in Phase II via integration with ASIP sustainment practices.
VEXTEC’s Virtual Life Management (VLM) is a unique integration of engineering analysis, computational materials science and condition monitoring protected by seven patents. The VLM process helps companies predict and enhance the reliability and performance of critical components during design, testing, manufacturing and service. Since 2000, VEXTEC’s Virtual Twin® has provided predictive analytics prognostics and life extension for hundreds of different products. To learn more, visit www.vextec.com.