Assessment of Damage Containment Features of a Full-Scale PRSEUS Fuselage Panel Through Test and Teardown


An area that shows promise in enhancing structural integrity of aircraft and aerospace structures is the integrally stitched composite technology. The most recent generation of this technology is the Pultruded Rod Stitched Efficient Unitized Structure (PRSEUS) concept developed by Boeing Research and Technology and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A joint test program on the assessment of damage containment capabilities of the PRSEUS concept for curved fuselage structures was conducted recently at the Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center. The panel was subjected to axial tension, internal pressure, and combined axial tension and internal pressure load conditions up to fracture, with a through-the-thickness, two-bay notch severing the central stiffener. For the purpose of future progressive failure analysis development and verification, extensive post failure nondestructive and teardown inspections were conducted. Detailed inspections were performed directly ahead of the notch tip where stable damage progression was observed. These examinations showed: 1) extensive delaminations developed ahead of the notch tip, 2) the extent and location of damage, 3) the typical damage mechanisms observed in composites, and 4) the role of stitching and warp-knitting in the failure mechanisms. The objective of this paper is to provide a summary of results from these posttest inspections

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