Damage Indicating Paints for Composites

Period of Performance: 07/22/2008 - 07/22/2010

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Luna Innovations is developing damage indicator paints for polymer matrix composites (PMCs) used as structural components in military and commercial aircraft. The complex structure of composites makes detection of cracks, flaws, and weak points within a structural component challenging. Composite damage resulting from impact or thermal events can be difficult to visually detect by personnel servicing the aircraft. Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods can be effective but are also time consuming and expensive for frequent routine inspections. The damage indicator paint developed by Luna will allow visual inspection of the aircraft to detect potential composite damage quickly in the field without the use of expensive equipment. Areas of damage highlighted by the paint can then be more closely inspected to determine needed repairs. This technology will help to prevent structural failure and will reduce the time and expense of instrumented NDE testing.