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Corrosion Repair MRO Technology

Figure 1. Corroded F/A-18 Fastener Holes

The repair of highly corroded fastener holes is becoming an increasingly urgent problem as DOD’s fleet of aircraft with hybrid airframes ages. Corrosion of fastener holes is typically caused by aluminum coming into electrical contact with carbon fiber composite skins, which creates a galvanic current that corrodes the metal. The Navy’s past experience with the F/A-18 found that galvanic corrosion of fastener holes is typically more severe than the corrosion experienced by all-metal aircraft in maritime environments (Figure 1). Air Force aircraft that use fasteners to attach composite skins to metal substructures, such as the F-22, F-35, V-22, and RQ-4 will experience the same galvanic corrosion issues as the F/A-18 and will require similar maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) solutions.

PartWorks has developed a novel, patent-pending technology which restores the fatigue life of corroded aluminum substructures in hybrid airframes and is much less expensive and faster compared to conventional repair methods. The process utilizes easy-to-use tools, supported by modeling and fatigue data, to speed up repairs and give confidence to those responsible for aircraft structural integrity about the viability of the repaired corroded fastener hole. The benefits of the PartWorks fastener hole repair process, based on our experience with the F/A 18 compared to the current fastener hole repair process for Navy aircraft with hybrid airframes are shown in Table 1. For more information, please email us at info@partworks.com, or fill out our form at Contact US.

Attribute Current fastener repair hole methods PartWorks proposed fastener hole repair method
Repair cost per hole Tens of thousands of dollars Tens of dollars
Time aircraft is out of service due to repair of fastener holes Months to Years Weeks
Amount of corrosion removed during repair process Total removal required Minimal removal required
Hole-edge (e/D) reduction during repair process Significant Minimal
Extends service life of structure No Yes

Table 1. The benefits of the PartWorks fastener hole repair process, based on our experience with the F/A 18 compared to the current fastener hole repair process for Navy aircraft with hybrid airframes.