The Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong has been awarded a Defence Science Institute (DSI) Smart Ideas Grant to help develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions for composite materials integrity testing.
The award, made to the cluster in collaboration with carbon fibre road wheel manufacturer, Carbon Revolution, and Deakin University, will use machine learning to improve quality assurance testing of composite components and structures.
Led by researchers at Deakin’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), and supported by Carbon Nexus, the research aligns with the DSI’s support for collaborations that will deliver enhanced national security.
Advanced Fibre Cluster chief executive officer Jennifer Conley said: “The Deakin University researchers leading this project are testing the feasibility of emerging technologies that have huge potential for the composites industry.
“Advanced fibre composite materials have contributed to the development of aerospace, defence and mobility for more than 50 years – making more and more things possible in terms of design, durability, and light weighting – but challenges remain.”
Today inspection to ensure integrity, composition, or condition of composite structures involves using either X-ray or ultrasonic scanning.
X-ray based testing is expensive in terms of both capital and operational investment. Sound-based testing systems do not offer the scan resolution provided by the radiation testing.
The AFCG project will to investigate how machine learning can resolve these challenges.
Professor of Composite Materials, Carbon Nexus, Professor Russell Varley said: “Understanding and developing next generation analysis methods for non-destructive testing of composite products has great potential to transform the industry.”
Carbon fibre is regarded as one of the lightest and strongest materials on Earth. Compared to a unit of steel, carbon fibre is up to ten times stronger, two times stiffer, and 66 per cent lighter.