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Exponent Engineer Publishes Chapter on Failure Analysis of Composite Materials


February 12, 2009

Dr. Joe Rakow, Managing Engineer in the Menlo Park, CA office has authored a chapter on the failure analysis of composite structures for the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO’s) Manual of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation (Doc 9756-AN/965). The topics covered in this chapter are timely and relevant given the accelerating use of composites in nearly all aircraft markets, most notably marked by the Airbus 380 and the Boeing 787. The main points of discussion in the chapter are as follows:

  • An introduction to the use of composites in aircraft structures 
  • Failure of metal structures versus failure of composite structures 
  • Typical failure features found in composite laminates, sandwich structures, joints, and repairs 
  • Case studies and examples involving failures of composite aircraft structures
ICAO has made an advance, unedited version of the manual available to ICAO members on its website. A finalized edition of the manual is expected to be available in English to ICAO’s 190 contracting nations within the next year. In the following years, ICAO will translate the manual into Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish. ICAO is the global forum for civil aviation and works to achieve its vision of safe, secure and sustainable development of civil aviation through cooperation amongst its member nations.