Crump, D.A., Dulieu-Barton, J.M. and Savage, J.
Design and commission of an experimental test rig to apply a full-scale pressure load on composite sandwich panels representative of aircraft secondary structure.
Measurement Science and Technology, 21, (1), . (doi:10.1088/0957-0233/21/1/015108).
This paper describes the design of a test rig, which is used to apply a representative pressure load to a full-scale composite sandwich secondary aircraft structure. A generic panel was designed with features to represent those in the composite sandwich secondary aircraft structure. To provide full-field strain data from the panels, the test rig was designed for use with optical measurement techniques such as thermoelastic stress analysis (TSA) and digital image correlation (DIC). TSA requires a cyclic load to be applied to a structure for the measurement of the strain state; therefore, the test rig has been designed to be mounted on a standard servo-hydraulic test machine. As both TSA and DIC require an uninterrupted view of the surface of the test panel, an important consideration in the design is facilitating the optical access for the two techniques. To aid the test rig design a finite element (FE) model was produced. The model provides information on the deflections that must be accommodated by the test rig, and ensures that the stress and strain levels developed in the panel when loaded in the test rig would be sufficient for measurement using TSA and DIC. Finally, initial tests using the test rig have shown it to be capable of achieving the required pressure and maintaining a cyclic load. It was also demonstrated that both TSA and DIC data can be collected from the panels under load, which are used to validate the stress and deflection derived from the FE model.
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