Three Composite Repairs Aerospace MRO Companies Use on Aircraft

Aerospace MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) companies have increasingly turned to performing repairs on the composite sections of aircraft. This movement is occurring in response to the greater number of aircraft that are being produced with high levels of composite materials in their structures, which in some models can be as high as 50% of the total materials used in the aircraft. In response to the high level of composite material used in modern aircraft, aerospace MRO providers have developed three types of repair procedures to ensure that aircraft using composites can stay in the air.

The Quick Repair Method

An aerospace MRO technician will use a quick repair to tackle small dents, gouges and nicks that occur on an aircraft’s exterior composite surfaces. This type of repair is known as a quick repair because it can usually be completed in an hour or less, usually while the aircraft is being serviced at the gate. To conduct a quick repair, aerospace MRO technicians will:

  • Apply a pre-cured patch of composite material, such as carbon fiber
  • Fix the patch in place with a quick-drying epoxy
  • Use a portable unit to apply heat and pressure to bond the patch with the surrounding composite structure

By performing a quick repair, an aerospace MRO technician can provide the aircraft’s operator with a fix that will allow them to continue operating the aircraft safely until its next scheduled maintenance visit. 

The Bonded Repair Method 

When the composite surfaces of aircraft are damaged more significantly, aerospace MRO technicians are more likely to use the bonded repair method. The process includes steps such as:

  • Sanding down the damaged area
  • Inserting new composite material
  • Curing the new composite material at high temperatures and high pressures

A bonded repair allows an aerospace MRO technician to be confident that the composite structure being repaired is restored to its original strength. This type of repair can typically be accomplished in eight to twelve hours. 

The Bolted Repair Method

When a composite surface suffers damage such as a large hole, aerospace MRO technicians turn to the bolted repair method to correct the damage. Even though the durability of composite materials makes this type of damage less likely, the bolted repair method used by aerospace MRO technicians mends the damaged area by:

  • Obtaining a pre-formed composite laminate plate
  • Fastening the plate in place with lockbolts or rivets

These simple bolted repair steps ensure that an aerospace MRO technician can return the damaged composite surface to its original strength and return the aircraft to flying service. 

Composites One is the Leading Supplier of Composite Materials in North America

As the leading North American distributor of composite materials such as carbon fiber, epoxy, polyester resin and vinyl ester resin, Composites One can assist any aerospace MRO provider with finding the appropriate materials for its repair jobs. For additional information about the composite materials we supply or how composite materials can decrease the time your aircraft spend in MRO, contact Composites One today.