Journal of Systems Engineering and Electronics ›› 2021, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (1): 252-260.doi: 10.23919/JSEE.2021.000022

• RELIABILITY • Previous Articles    

Inspection interval optimization for aircraft composite structures with dent and delamination damage

Jing CAI*(), Dingqiang DAI()   

  1. 1 College of Civil Aviation, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 211106, China
  • Received:2013-05-05 Online:2021-02-18 Published:2021-03-16
  • Contact: Jing CAI;
  • About author:|CAI Jing was born in 1976. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1999 and 2007. He is currently an associate professor in Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His research interests include reliability statistics, maintenance theory, and prognostic and health management. E-mail:||DAI Dingqiang was born in 1997. He is pursuing his master ’s degree at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His major is airworthiness technology and management. His research interests include airworthiness, reliability and system simulation. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1533202) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (NP2019408)


The optimization of inspection intervals for composite structures has been proposed, but only one damage type, dent damage, has been addressed so far. The present study focuses on the two main damage types of dent and delamination, and a model for optimizing the inspection interval of composite structures is proposed to minimize the total maintenance cost on the premise that the probability of structure failure will not exceed the acceptable level. In order to analyze the damage characteristics and the residual strength of the composite structure, the frequency, energy, size, and depth of the damage are studied, and the situation of missing detection during the inspection is considered. The structural residual strength and total maintenance cost are quantified corresponding to different inspection intervals. The proposed optimization method relieves the constraints in previous simulation methods, and is more consistent with the actual situation. Finally, the outer wing of aircraft is taken as an example, and with the historical cases and experimental data, the optimization method is verified. The optimal inspection interval is shorter than the actually implemented inspection interval, and the corresponding maintenance cost is reduced by 23.3%. The result shows the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed optimization method.

Key words: civil aircraft, composite structure, accidental impact damage, failure probability, inspection interval