Aviation Industrial Reseach
DVI's Aeronautical Scientists and Aerospace Design Experts are actively engaged in performing pioneering industrial research. Shown below are some examples of the work that DVI's Aviation Scientists have been involved with.
Development of Durable, Low Friction Coating for Refueling Drogues
DVI’s Aerospace Experts worked to identify a more durable aerospace coating system that can be applied to the MC-130J’s VSRD outer ribs in order to increase the mean time between failures and reduce life cycle cost. High friction and failures of the current coating system is preventing the deployment of the VSRD from the refueling pod storage tube. Failure of the VSRD to deploy from the storage tube prevents the MC-130J from completing its aerial refueling mission. This failure mode is mission critical, because the receiving aircraft are dependent upon the successful transfer of fuel to stay airborne.
Coatings applied to surfaces, such as the ribs on the VSRD, often provide a very cost effective means to achieve properties (low friction, high toughness, and low wear) that would be difficult or even impossible to obtain with monolithic materials. The utilization or proper selection of coatings can be impeded by the lack of relevant performance data that would allow an applications engineer or designer to select a particular coating that would likely meet the requirements of a specific application. Generic materials property data such as hardness, service temperature, and coefficient of friction exist for many coatings, but experience has shown that the substrate, coating, and mechanical apparatus behave as a system. This creates significant challenges to forecast the in-service performance of a coating system.
Development of Super-hydrophobic Coatings for Landing Gear
DVI’s Aeronautical Scientists identified a practical super-hydrophobic coating system that could be applied to landing gears in corrosion-prone environments. Landing gear components experience service in extreme environments, and often utilize materials that are prone to corrosion. As such, corrosion prevention is critical in ensuring the safety and reliability of aircraft landing gear.
Most landing gear corrosion prevention strategies comprises one or more of the following systems, based on the function of the surface: sacrificial platings (cadmium, LHE Zn-Ni), barrier platings (chromium, HVOF, nickel, anodize, etc.), and primer/paint application. However, these defenses can be compromised or can be inadequate for the service conditions to which they are subjected.
DVI’s Aerospace Scientists and Experts identified that super-hydrophobic coatings are one possible way to minimize or prevent corrosion. Super-hydrophobic coatings are defined as having contact angles of 150o or greater. In theory, super-hydrophobic coatings should improve corrosion resistance by acting as a barrier to transport of the electrolyte to the coated surface, and this has been found to be the case, but characterizations typically do not encompass all of the practical issues to determine if super-hydrophobic coatings can provide corrosion protection in practice. For example, many approaches increase the roughness of the surface because this creates air pockets that contribute to the super-hydrophobicity, but rougher surfaces also have increased friction that is not desirable if surfaces are sliding against each other. Many of the materials used for super-hydrophobic coatings also lack the abrasion resistance that is needed to resist abrasion from particulate matter in the air, especially in theaters such as the Mid-East. The utilization or proper selection of coatings that meet the aircraft manufacture’s requirements can be impeded by the lack of relevant performance data that would allow an applications engineer or designer to select a particular coating that would likely meet the needs of a specific application. Generic materials property data such as hardness, service temperature, and coefficient of friction exist for many coatings, but experience has shown that the substrate, coating, mechanical apparatus, and operating environment behave as a system. This creates significant challenges to forecast the in-service performance of a coating system.
Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with NBC Airborne Sensors
DVI’s Drone Experts assisted in the development of an autonomous airborne sensor that could actively track and trend the dispersion of radioactive particles and airborne pathogens. The Fukushima-Daichii nuclear power plant accident highlighted the limitations for collecting real-time dispersion data during radioactive fallout. In some instances, radioactive monitoring sensors were simply attached to vehicles driven by First Responders and other workers. These unsophisticated methods require great personal risk with unexpected consequences when evaluating NBC threats. Furthermore, there are few ways to determine the source of the pathogen release, its concentration, or the trends and direction of the pathogen/radiation in real-time. An autonomous airborne sensor eliminates the need for a person to physically evaluate the contamination site. This airborne sensor can be deployed very rapidly and provide information back to personnel where it normally takes a surveying team significantly longer to implement. This lost time during implementation of personnel allows the pathogen or radiation further time to migrate and disperse. Proprietary algorithms determine the altitude, concentrations, direction, dispersing trends, speed of advancement, and source point of the NBC event.