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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 684024, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/684024
Research Article

Corrosion Sensor Development for Condition-Based Maintenance of Aircraft

1NRC Institute for Aerospace Research, National Research Council Canada, Building M-14, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0R6
2Dockyard Laboratory Pacific, Defence Research & Development Canada-Atlantic, CFB Esquimalt D199, P.O. Box 17000, Station Forces, Victoria, BC, Canada V9A 7N2
3NRC Institute for Microstructural Sciences, National Research Council Canada, Building M-50, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0R6

Received 19 February 2012; Accepted 10 April 2012

Academic Editor: Peter Foote

Copyright © 2012 Gino Rinaldi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Aircraft routinely operate in atmospheric environments that, over time, will impact their structural integrity. Material protection and selection schemes notwithstanding, recurrent exposure to chlorides, pollution, temperature gradients, and moisture provide the necessary electrochemical conditions for the development and profusion of corrosion in aircraft structures. For aircraft operators, this becomes an important safety matter as corrosion found in a given aircraft must be assumed to be present in all of that type of aircraft. This safety protocol and its associated unscheduled maintenance requirement drive up the operational costs of the fleet and limit the availability of the aircraft. Hence, there is an opportunity at present for developing novel sensing technologies and schemes to aid in shifting time-based maintenance schedules towards condition-based maintenance procedures. In this work, part of the ongoing development of a multiparameter integrated corrosion sensor is presented. It consists of carbon nanotube/polyaniline polymer sensors and commercial-off-the-shelf sensors. It is being developed primarily for monitoring environmental and material factors for the purpose of providing a means to more accurately assess the structural integrity of aerospace aluminium alloys through fusion of multiparameter sensor data. Preliminary experimental test results are presented for chloride ion concentration, hydrogen gas evolution, humidity variations, and material degradation.