Unconventional Approaches to Field Repair,
ARMY LAB COMMAND WATERTOWN MA MATERIAL TECHNOLOGY LAB
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Field repair of composites presents special problems for the Army where the repair might literally be performed in a field or other remote location. In such a situation, access to electric power both for refrigeration to preserve reactive resin systems and for heating to cure the patch, is severely limited. In order to circumvent these problems, we have investigated some novel approaches to the packaging and curing composite patches. One approach involves a self-contained kit in which all of the patch components including the reinforcement are separate from one another until the patch is needed, at which time they are combined in the proper ratio by means of a simple operation. Shelf-life for such a system, even without refrigeration is thus indefinite. Another approach makes use of optical fibers to carry light energy into the interior of an otherwise opaque graphite fiber-reinforced patch thereby permitting the use of a photochemically curable matrix resin. This paper will describe initial efforts to implement these approaches, some of the difficulties encountered, and current attempts to circumvent them. Some new approaches will also be outlined.