Cold Spray Coatings Qualification for Repair of Aerospace Parts
Many aerospace parts on Boeing aircrafts cannot currently be easily repaired when damaged during operation due to the lack of existing economical-practical repair technologies. For example, damaged aluminum coatings or chromium plating require that the coating/plating be completely removed and then reapplied, an extremely costly and time consuming process. Similarly, aluminum and titanium parts damaged during regular operation or even initial machining must be disposed of if the damage causes a thickness reduction below the minimum engineering requirements as there is no current process to repair those parts. The Cold Spray technologies commercialized by the manufacturing sponsor (Centerline (Windsor) Limited) produce metallic layers/coatings by accelerating metal powders onto the part to be repaired/coated using high velocity inert gas at supersonic speeds without damaging the parts to be coated. As such, recent targeted research and development efforts by the uOttawa Cold Spray laboratory have demonstrated (proof of concept) that these Cold Spray technologies can be used to restore/repair damaged aluminum/titanium coatings/parts. The proposed research will focus on developing and optimizing the Cold Spray technologies owned by the manufacturing sponsor in order to specifically meet the qualification/certification of the aerospace sponsor for the restoration/repair of damaged aluminum/titanium coatings/parts as well as chromium plated and composite parts. The interactions with the manufacturing sponsor will provide them with the required feedback to adapt and modify the Cold Spray technologies for the specific needs of the aerospace applications targeted in this proposal. It is foreseen that the successful development and qualification/certification of Cold Spray restoration/repair will result in successful commercial implementation leading to major cost savings and reduced schedule time for the aerospace sponsor (Boeing). Consequently, it will allow the Canadian Cold Spray technologies developed and commercialized by the manufacturing sponsor to be adopted by this major aerospace company and thus generate considerable revenues from selling the spray equipment, parts and consumables. It will allow the manufacturing sponsor occupying this large market niche and possibly become a major aerospace repair/restoration technology provider. Furthermore, this technology transfer should strengthen Canada’s position as one of the leaders in the aerospace industry as well as its important position in the manufacturing sector.