The US FAA has issued a broad agency announcement for research into better ways to predict how corrosion can affect the life of aircraft structures.
The agency plans to issue one or more one-year study contracts valued at up to $250,000 each to perform initial research that will allow it transition to "statistical, probabilistic risk analysis of corrosion problems".
The FAA notes that in both accelerated testing in the laboratory and simulation studies for corrosion to date, time-to-failure predictions may not be applicable when considering actual in-service conditions. Variables affecting structure life as related to corrosion include material properties, temperature, surface contamination history, including salt spray exposure, surface protection layers, dissimilar metal precautions, moisture draining provisions and maintenance history, says the FAA.
By contrast, the agency says metal fatigue is "more consistent in-service", making life estimates more predictable. Those variables include material properties, part dimensions, shapes and loads.
The FAA will accept technical summary papers of proposed research until 16 April.