The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) has received a $600,000 grant from Boeing to test composite components that officials believe will lead to longer-lasting aircraft and identify when those components might fail.

The title of the project is “Advanced Inspection and Analysis of Common Feature Test Component for Composite Airframe Life Extension Program.”

Andrew Makeev, UTA professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the Advanced Materials and Structures Lab, will lead the project. Endel Iarve, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering who works in the UTA Research Institute’s Institute for Predictive Performance Methodologies, is the co-principal investigator.

“At the end of the research, Boeing and the Air Force want to understand and have confidence that our analysis can be used to predict the remaining useful life of composite airframe structures,” Makeev said.

The research consists of experimental testing and advanced structural analysis using Progressive Damage Analysis or PDA tools. The goal is to develop a set of the most accurate experimental data to be used in concert with a PDA method to predict the onset and growth of damage to a composite component utilizing the Continuum Damage Mechanics method developed by UTA researchers Yuri Nikishkov, Guillaume Seon and Makeev at UTA’s Advanced Materials and Structures Lab (AMSL) and the B-Spline Analysis Method developed by UTA’s Endel Iarve, and validate these techniques.

Erian Armanios, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, said Makeev’s work helps the aircraft industry by improving sustainability, maintenance and life cycle management

“What Dr. Makeev is doing could have significant implications on aircraft design and certification,” Armanios said. “Developing a capability to predict composite airframe strength and durability, is bound to have industry-wide implications.”

Peter Crouch, UTA College of Engineering dean, said, “It’s important for university researchers like Dr. Makeev to work hand-in-hand with companies to ensure that their work has impact beyond classroom walls, including helping our students land important jobs in those industry sectors.”