US20080159870A1 - Method and coating for protecting and repairing an airfoil surface using molded boots, sheet or tape - Google Patents

Method and coating for protecting and repairing an airfoil surface using molded boots, sheet or tape Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080159870A1
US20080159870A1 US11818202 US81820207A US2008159870A1 US 20080159870 A1 US20080159870 A1 US 20080159870A1 US 11818202 US11818202 US 11818202 US 81820207 A US81820207 A US 81820207A US 2008159870 A1 US2008159870 A1 US 2008159870A1
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Prior art keywords
elastomeric
erosion
basecoat
coating
preformed
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US11818202
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Shek C. Hong
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Hontek Corp
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Hontek Corp
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B23MACHINE TOOLS; METAL-WORKING NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B23POTHER WORKING OF METAL; COMBINED OPERATIONS; UNIVERSAL MACHINE TOOLS
    • B23P6/00Restoring or reconditioning objects
    • B23P6/002Repairing turbine components, e.g. moving or stationary blades, rotors
    • B23P6/007Repairing turbine components, e.g. moving or stationary blades, rotors using only additive methods, e.g. build-up welding
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B64AIRCRAFT; AVIATION; COSMONAUTICS
    • B64FGROUND OR AIRCRAFT-CARRIER-DECK INSTALLATIONS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH AIRCRAFT; DESIGNING, MANUFACTURING, ASSEMBLING, CLEANING, MAINTAINING OR REPAIRING AIRCRAFT, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; HANDLING, TRANSPORTING, TESTING OR INSPECTING AIRCRAFT COMPONENTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B64F5/00Designing, manufacturing, assembling, cleaning, maintaining or repairing aircraft, not otherwise provided for; Handling, transporting, testing or inspecting aircraft components, not otherwise provided for
    • B64F5/40Maintaining or repairing aircraft
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F01MACHINES OR ENGINES IN GENERAL; ENGINE PLANTS IN GENERAL; STEAM ENGINES
    • F01DNON-POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, e.g. STEAM TURBINES
    • F01D5/00Blades; Blade-carrying members; Heating, heat-insulating, cooling or antivibration means on the blades or the members
    • F01D5/005Repairing methods or devices
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F03MACHINES OR ENGINES FOR LIQUIDS; WIND, SPRING WEIGHT AND MISCELLANEOUS MOTORS; PRODUCING MECHANICAL POWER; OR A REACTIVE PROPULSIVE THRUST, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • F03DWIND MOTORS
    • F03D80/00Details, components or accessories not provided for in groups F03D1/00 - F03D17/00
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F04POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; PUMPS FOR LIQUIDS OR ELASTIC FLUIDS
    • F04DNON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT PUMPS
    • F04D29/00Details, component parts, or accessories
    • F04D29/02Selection of particular materials
    • F04D29/023Selection of particular materials especially adapted for elastic fluid pumps
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F04POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; PUMPS FOR LIQUIDS OR ELASTIC FLUIDS
    • F04DNON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT PUMPS
    • F04D29/00Details, component parts, or accessories
    • F04D29/26Rotors specially for elastic fluids
    • F04D29/32Rotors specially for elastic fluids for axial flow pumps
    • F04D29/321Rotors specially for elastic fluids for axial flow pumps for axial flow compressors
    • F04D29/324Blades
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F04POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT MACHINES FOR LIQUIDS; PUMPS FOR LIQUIDS OR ELASTIC FLUIDS
    • F04DNON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT PUMPS
    • F04D29/00Details, component parts, or accessories
    • F04D29/60Mounting; Assembling; Disassembling
    • F04D29/64Mounting; Assembling; Disassembling of axial pumps
    • F04D29/644Mounting; Assembling; Disassembling of axial pumps especially adapted for elastic fluid pumps
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B05SPRAYING OR ATOMISING IN GENERAL; APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05DPROCESSES FOR APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05D5/00Processes for applying liquids or other fluent materials to surfaces to obtain special surface effects, finishes or structures
    • B05D5/005Repairing damaged coatings
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B05SPRAYING OR ATOMISING IN GENERAL; APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05DPROCESSES FOR APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05D5/00Processes for applying liquids or other fluent materials to surfaces to obtain special surface effects, finishes or structures
    • B05D5/06Processes for applying liquids or other fluent materials to surfaces to obtain special surface effects, finishes or structures to obtain multicolour or other optical effects
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B05SPRAYING OR ATOMISING IN GENERAL; APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05DPROCESSES FOR APPLYING LIQUIDS OR OTHER FLUENT MATERIALS TO SURFACES, IN GENERAL
    • B05D7/00Processes, other than flocking, specially adapted for applying liquids or other fluent materials to particular surfaces or for applying particular liquids or other fluent materials
    • B05D7/50Multilayers
    • B05D7/56Three layers or more
    • B05D7/58No clear coat specified
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05BINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO MACHINES OR ENGINES OTHER THAN NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, TO WIND MOTORS, TO NON-POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT PUMPS, AND TO GENERATING COMBUSTION PRODUCTS OF HIGH PRESSURE OR HIGH VELOCITY
    • F05B2210/00Working fluid
    • F05B2210/16Air or water being indistinctly used as working fluid, i.e. the machine can work equally with air or water without any modification
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05BINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO MACHINES OR ENGINES OTHER THAN NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, TO WIND MOTORS, TO NON-POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT PUMPS, AND TO GENERATING COMBUSTION PRODUCTS OF HIGH PRESSURE OR HIGH VELOCITY
    • F05B2230/00Manufacture
    • F05B2230/10Manufacture by removing material
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05BINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO MACHINES OR ENGINES OTHER THAN NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, TO WIND MOTORS, TO NON-POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT PUMPS, AND TO GENERATING COMBUSTION PRODUCTS OF HIGH PRESSURE OR HIGH VELOCITY
    • F05B2230/00Manufacture
    • F05B2230/30Manufacture with deposition of material
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05BINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO MACHINES OR ENGINES OTHER THAN NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, TO WIND MOTORS, TO NON-POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT PUMPS, AND TO GENERATING COMBUSTION PRODUCTS OF HIGH PRESSURE OR HIGH VELOCITY
    • F05B2230/00Manufacture
    • F05B2230/90Coating; Surface treatment
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05BINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO MACHINES OR ENGINES OTHER THAN NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, TO WIND MOTORS, TO NON-POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT PUMPS, AND TO GENERATING COMBUSTION PRODUCTS OF HIGH PRESSURE OR HIGH VELOCITY
    • F05B2260/00Function
    • F05B2260/95Preventing corrosion
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05BINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO MACHINES OR ENGINES OTHER THAN NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, TO WIND MOTORS, TO NON-POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT PUMPS, AND TO GENERATING COMBUSTION PRODUCTS OF HIGH PRESSURE OR HIGH VELOCITY
    • F05B2280/00Materials; Properties thereof
    • F05B2280/40Organic materials
    • F05B2280/4003Synthetic polymers, e.g. plastics; Rubber
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05BINDEXING SCHEME RELATING TO MACHINES OR ENGINES OTHER THAN NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, TO WIND MOTORS, TO NON-POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT PUMPS, AND TO GENERATING COMBUSTION PRODUCTS OF HIGH PRESSURE OR HIGH VELOCITY
    • F05B2280/00Materials; Properties thereof
    • F05B2280/60Properties or characteristics given to material by treatment or manufacturing
    • F05B2280/6011Coating
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05DINDEXING SCHEME FOR ASPECTS RELATING TO NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, GAS-TURBINES OR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F05D2230/00Manufacture
    • F05D2230/10Manufacture by removing material
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05DINDEXING SCHEME FOR ASPECTS RELATING TO NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, GAS-TURBINES OR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F05D2230/00Manufacture
    • F05D2230/30Manufacture with deposition of material
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05DINDEXING SCHEME FOR ASPECTS RELATING TO NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, GAS-TURBINES OR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F05D2230/00Manufacture
    • F05D2230/90Coating; Surface treatment
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05DINDEXING SCHEME FOR ASPECTS RELATING TO NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, GAS-TURBINES OR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F05D2240/00Components
    • F05D2240/20Rotors
    • F05D2240/30Characteristics of rotor blades, i.e. of any element transforming dynamic fluid energy to or from rotational energy and being attached to a rotor
    • F05D2240/303Characteristics of rotor blades, i.e. of any element transforming dynamic fluid energy to or from rotational energy and being attached to a rotor related to the leading edge of a rotor blade
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05DINDEXING SCHEME FOR ASPECTS RELATING TO NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, GAS-TURBINES OR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F05D2260/00Function
    • F05D2260/95Preventing corrosion
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05DINDEXING SCHEME FOR ASPECTS RELATING TO NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, GAS-TURBINES OR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F05D2300/00Materials; Properties thereof
    • F05D2300/40Organic materials
    • F05D2300/43Synthetic polymers, e.g. plastics; Rubber
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05DINDEXING SCHEME FOR ASPECTS RELATING TO NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, GAS-TURBINES OR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F05D2300/00Materials; Properties thereof
    • F05D2300/60Properties or characteristics given to material by treatment or manufacturing
    • F05D2300/611Coating
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E10/00Energy generation through renewable energy sources
    • Y02E10/70Wind energy
    • Y02E10/72Wind turbines with rotation axis in wind direction
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02PCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN THE PRODUCTION OR PROCESSING OF GOODS
    • Y02P70/00Climate change mitigation technologies in the production process for final industrial or consumer products
    • Y02P70/50Manufacturing or production processes characterised by the final manufactured product
    • Y02P70/52Manufacturing of products or systems for producing renewable energy
    • Y02P70/523Wind turbines
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02TCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION
    • Y02T50/00Aeronautics or air transport
    • Y02T50/60Efficient propulsion technologies
    • Y02T50/67Relevant aircraft propulsion technologies
    • Y02T50/671Measures to reduce the propulsor weight
    • Y02T50/672Measures to reduce the propulsor weight using composites
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02TCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION
    • Y02T50/00Aeronautics or air transport
    • Y02T50/60Efficient propulsion technologies
    • Y02T50/67Relevant aircraft propulsion technologies
    • Y02T50/673Improving the blades aerodynamics
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/49Method of mechanical manufacture
    • Y10T29/49316Impeller making
    • Y10T29/49336Blade making
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/49Method of mechanical manufacture
    • Y10T29/49718Repairing
    • Y10T29/49746Repairing by applying fluent material, e.g., coating, casting
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T29/00Metal working
    • Y10T29/52Plural diverse manufacturing apparatus

Abstract

Disclosed is a field repairable airfoil structure such as a wing or a rotor blade and a method for repair and removal of erosion or impact damage to elastomeric coatings on surfaces such as the leading edge of the airfoil using special hand sandable coatings and preformed molded boots, preformed sheets or tapes with an optional topcoat applied thereto having higher sand erosion resistance.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This patent application is a continuation-in-part and claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/640,050, entitled “Method and Coating for Protecting and Repairing an Airfoil Surface,” filed on Dec. 14, 2006. The disclosure of this patent application is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
  • Portions of the disclosed invention were developed through a combination of federal and private funding. The federal funding was provided by contract N68335-04-C-0071, awarded by NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER-AIRCRAFT DIVISION, United States Navy . . .
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates to the repair and removal of erosion or impact damage to elastomeric coatings (coatings means preformed molded boots, preformed sheets or tapes and their Repair Basecoat and Repair Topcoat) on a curved substrate, particularly such surfaces as the leading edge of the airfoil which may take the form of a wing, a rotor blade, a turbine blade, a propeller blade, a fan blade, an aircraft radome, antenna or other structures which have similar arcuate leading surfaces. The method is also useful for other flat and contoured surfaces.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Elastomeric polymeric compositions are used to protect structures with forward facing surfaces, such as wings, rotor blades, propeller blades, fan blades, turbine blades, aircraft radome, and aircraft antennas. These structures can be severely damaged when used in their intended operational environments. The term “erosion damage” is a broad term encompassing damage caused by rain erosion, sand and dust erosion as well as impact damages caused by stone, gravel or foreign objects encountered typically in flight conditions.
  • Elastomeric erosion resistant coatings are supplied in the forms of tapes, sheets, molded boots and sprayable coatings. Currently available elastomeric polyurethane coatings used in erosion protection application are highly sand erosion resistant, demonstrating higher sand erosion resistance than metal. However, elastomeric polyurethane coatings have lower rain erosion resistance than metal, usually exhibiting rain erosion damage in the form of deep pits, cracks, craters, and holes. The size, shape and location of the damage sites vary depending on the nature of the damage. The size and shape can vary from crack lines as thin as hair lines, pits about 1 mini-meter or smaller in diameter, craters about 2 to 3 mini-meter in diameter, or irregularly shaped holes wider than 1 centimeter across. The damage sites can exist isolated and randomly distributed, or continuous across the forward facing surfaces.
  • When these erosion damages occur, it is extremely difficult to conduct repairs on the rain eroded polyurethane elastomers. The high sand erosion resistance makes it extremely difficult to remove the coatings by hand sanding. For helicopters, removal of the current types of erosion protection coating by mechanical or chemical means requires the removal of the rotor blades from the aircraft and typically removal by machine sanding or other techniques. The reapplication of the tape, molded boot and sprayable coatings in the field is very labor intensive and costly.
  • Another method to remove the damaged coating uses chemical strippers. This method also requires the removal of the rotor blades from the aircraft, as the open air will dry out the chemical stripper very quickly. Another problem is that chemical stripping introduces hazardous chemicals into the operation. In addition, typical erosion resistant coatings are used at a thickness equal or greater than 0.0067″, more often 0.010″ to 0.014″. Preformed molded boot, sheets and tapes sometimes can be thicker than 0.020″ or 0.050″. It usually takes overnight soaking to soften the coatings so that they can be removed. There are also concerns that the stripper solution may swell and damage the composite structure under the erosion resistant coatings. For these reasons, it is not practical to do field repair with chemical stripper.
  • Possible methods that could be used to repair the erosion damage involve brushing on repair material and spraying on the repair materials or patching up with tapes or sheets. Neither of these methods is entirely satisfactory to fill in the cracks, holes of varying sizes and shapes on a curved surface, while still maintaining a smooth, aerodynamic surface at the end of the repair operations. The extra layers simply follow the irregular contours of the damaged surfaces interfering with aerodynamics of the airfoil. None of the methods employed to date have satisfactorily provided a method to field repair a rotor blade which has erosion damage.
  • It is an object of this invention to provide an erosion protection system based on molded boot, sheet and tape, whose erosion damages such as pits, cracks, craters, and holes of varying sizes and shapes can be easily repaired by hand sanding without power tool, using the repair method disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/640,050 which incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. It is another object of this invention to provide a method to repair airfoil structures such as the rotor blades that can be accomplished in the field.
  • It is a further object of this invention to repair the rotor blade or other leading edge structure while the blades are still mounted on the aircraft or equipment,
  • It is an additional object to design an erosion protection system that can be removed and/or repaired in the field, without power tools or chemical strippers.
  • It is another objective of this invention to provide an erosion protection molded boot, sheet and tape system for airfoils with contrasting colors to allow early detection of erosion, impact and other damages, and to allow fast repair to lengthen the service life of the blades or structures.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In this application, the term basecoat means a preformed elastomeric molded boot or sheet or tape, the term Repair Basecoat means a liquid formable coating composition. The term Repair Topcoat means liquid formable coating composition.
  • One embodiment of the invention relates to a method of repairing an airfoil surface protected with molded boot or preformed sheet or tape having a plurality of damage cavities caused by erosion or impact damage comprising filling said plurality of damage cavities in said surface with a liquid repair material using a flexible applicator capable of conforming to the surface of said airfoil surface while being drawn lengthwise along the airfoil surface. This method may include the preliminary steps of sanding the portion of said airfoil surface containing said plurality of damage cavities with abrasive material and applying an optional primer/adhesive coat over sanded areas. The liquid repair material is preferably formulated as an elastomeric hand sandable basecoat and an erosion resistant topcoat may optionally be applied over the basecoat. The erosion resistant topcoat is preferably more sand erosion resistant than the underlying elastomeric basecoat.
  • Another embodiment is directed to an elastomeric airfoil erosion protection coating for visual detection of water and sand erosion damage comprising having the elastomeric basecoat of a contrasting color to the color of the topcoat layer which is visible on the outer surface. This system of contrasting colored coating layers provides visual detection of any damage by detecting the appearance of the contrasting color the underlying layers thereby indicating damage in the area. In another related aspect, there are three contrasting colored layers (a) a primer/adhesive of a first color applied directly on a structural substrate of said airfoil surrounding a leading edge of said airfoil; (b) a basecoat or repair basecoat of a second color applied over said primer/adhesive; and (c) a topcoat of a third color on top of said basecoat, wherein said first color, second color and third color are contrasting colors allowing visual detection of damage to said protection coating by visual inspection to detect the appearance of the second color of said basecoat or first color of said primer indicating damage in the area. The contrasting colored coating system is used in a method of detecting damage to an airfoil erosion protection coating allowing the slight damage to be repaired before the airfoil substrate is damaged, thereby prolonging service life. The repair method described above is useful for such repair.
  • Still another embodiment is directed to a method of making an airfoil leading edge erosion protection coating capable of being field repairable by hand sanding comprising applying to an airfoil substrate a coating system composed of a hand sandable basecoat and a topcoat, said basecoat being of lower sand erosion resistance than the topcoat and said basecoat constituting at least 50% of the total coating thickness. A related aspect relates to repairing said erosion protection coating by sanding the damage cavities; applying a repair basecoat to fill said plurality of cavities to form filled cavities; and finally applying a repair topcoat layer over the filled cavities.
  • Still another embodiment is a field repairable preformed molded boot, sheet or tape composition positioned on and adhered to a leading edge surface of an airfoil comprising an elastomeric base composition loaded with fillers sufficient to render the molded boot, sheet or tape hand sandable, said base elastomeric base composition tested in accordance with ASTM D412-92 prior to incorporation of said fillers having a minimum tensile strength of 1000 psi, an elongation at break of at least 200%, and a Shore A hardness of less than 95A.
  • A further embodiment is directed to a repairable elastomeric coating or a preformed molded boot, sheet or tape for a leading edge surface of an airfoil comprising (a) an elastomeric, hand sandable basecoat disposed surrounding said leading edge surface having a sand erosion rate above 0.020 grams/cm2; and (b) an elastomeric topcoat disposed on top of said elastomeric basecoat having a sand erosion rate below 0.020 grams/cm2. Preferably the basecoat constitutes at least 50% of the total coating thickness.
  • A still further embodiment relates to a single layer erosion resistant elastomeric molded boot, sheet or tape adhered to a leading edge surface of an airfoil comprising a single layer of an elastomeric basecoat adhered on said leading edge of said airfoil having a sand erosion rate above 0.020 grams/cm2 and a water erosion rate of greater than 100 minutes. (The water erosion rate is defined as the rain erosion test performed with water droplet size of 1.8-2.0 mm, 90 degree impact angle and rainfall rate of one inch per hour at a coating thickness of about 0.014″ or higher, such as up to 0.120″).
  • It is understood that, in the various embodiments described in this patent application, the hand sandable basecoat composition may take the form of a preformed solid sheet, a molded boot or a tape. The primer may take the form of a liquid brushable primer or adhesive, a liquid sprayable primer or adhesive, or in the form of a liquid or solid adhesive with or without a gap spacer such as fabric or open mesh. A repair basecoat may take the form of a liquid brushable coating and a repair topcoat may take the form of a brushable or sprayable liquid coating. To form the early erosion indicator system, each of these components may be colored to form contrasting colors when they are deposited or formed onto the substrates.
  • An embodiment utilizing applicators which are preformed to conform to the cross sectional contour of the leading edge surface of an airfoil are useful on long uniform cross section leading edge application, and it utilizes an applicator comprising a body having an open interior area defined by at least one interior wall, said wall having a wiping edge at a distal end thereof and a front edge generally opposite said wiping edge; said wiping edge defining a contour complimentary to a leading edge surface of an airfoil; said front edge defining a contour shaped to form a pocket between said leading edge surface of said airfoil and said interior wall; and wherein during operation an elastomeric material is resident within said pocket so that as said applicator is drawn along said leading edge surface of said airfoil said elastomeric material is deposited on said leading edge surface of said airfoil and follows the shape defined thereby. This applicator may have a handle incorporated therein and an inlet device to allow for feeding in of the elastomeric repair materials by various supply methods including squeeze bottles, caulking gun-type devices and dispensing devices which meter and premix the elastomeric repair material.
  • An additional embodiment relates to an airfoil repair kit comprising a flexible applicator capable of conforming to a leading edge surface of an airfoil; and at least one an elastomeric, hand sandable repair material along with optional kit components of sanding supplies, a primer, an elastomeric basecoat, an elastomeric topcoat, brushes, and a sprayer.
  • An additional embodiment relates to an airfoil repair kit comprising a flexible applicator capable of conforming to a leading edge surface of an airfoil; and at least one an elastomeric, hand sandable basecoat repair material along with optional kit components of sanding supplies, a primer or adhesive, a preformed molded boot or sheet, or tape, an elastomeric topcoat, brushes, and an optional sprayer.
  • An additional embodiment relates to an airfoil repair kit comprising at least one elastomeric, hand sandable repair material along with optional kit components of a primer or adhesive, a preformed molded boot or sheet or tape,
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is partial section of the leading edge portion of an airfoil structure showing sand and water erosion damage.
  • FIG. 2 is a partial section of the leading edge portion of an airfoil structure showing more severe sand and water erosion damage.
  • FIG. 3 is a partial section of the leading edge portion of an airfoil structure used for laboratory testing coated with elastomeric erosion coating.
  • FIG. 4 is a cross sectional schematic view of an airfoil shape with major airfoil or hydrofoil elements identified
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a leading edge being repaired using a flexible applicator
  • FIG. 6 is partial section of the leading edge portion of an airfoil structure showing sand and water erosion damage being repaired using a specially formed flexible applicator.
  • FIG. 7 is partial section of the leading edge portion of an airfoil structure showing sand and water erosion damage being repaired using a specially formed flexible applicator with a handle
  • FIG. 8 is partial section of the leading edge portion of an airfoil structure showing sand and water erosion damage being repaired using a specially formed flexible applicator with an inlet for repair fluid built in to the body of the flexible applicator.
  • FIG. 9 is a schematic representation of a method of testing sand erosion resistance.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • FIGS. 1 and 2 show a time lapse sequence of the erosion damage progression on an airfoil shaped structure 10, the leading edge portion 12 of which is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 in sectional view. Rain erosion and impact damage (14 and 16) typically occurs at the front of the leading edge 12, while sand or solid particle erosion tends to focus on the contour surfaces slightly away from the leading edges. Rain erosion typically caused pits, craters, and holes, while sand erosion typically produces uniformly matte surface appearance and very shallow erosion hole patterns. FIG. 2 illustrates a later stage of erosion damage using the same section from FIG. 1. In FIG. 2 the most severe erosion sites 20 and 22 occurs when the surface is first eroded by sand or dust particles, and then followed by rain erosion. Under this mixed sand/rain environment, the side surfaces region 24 surrounding the leading edges are typically eroded into deep pits and craters very quickly.
  • Certain embodiments relate generally to the repair of an elastomeric coating 26 on a curved surface 28 of an airfoil shaped structure 30 as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 as rotor blade 10. The elastomeric coating 26 is defined as a flexible coating based on elastomeric polymer composition. The coating may contain no filler or it may contain fillers. The presence of filler may stiffen up the coatings to the point of relatively little elastomeric physical character, but these filled coatings are still regarded as “elastomeric coatings” for use in various embodiments of this invention. The coating may take in the form of preformed molded boot, sheet or tape, either adhered directly to the substrate, or with the assistance of a primer and/or an adhesive.
  • FIG. 3 shows the test airfoil 40 which is a mock-up of the partial airfoil leading edge section of an actual rotor used to simulate actual damage from water and sand impingement in a controlled environment. The elastomeric coating 42 is deposited on the underlying substrate 44 surface area of the whole test airfoil. The leading edge 46 is the focal point for the impingement of water and sand during testing shown by directional arrow 48. All along the leading edge 44 and all the adjacent surfaces represented by this test airfoil damage occurs by the appearance during testing of the erosion damage cavities shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates by a cross-sectional diagrammatic representation of the convention structural portions of a typical airfoil 50 having a leading edge 52 and a trailing edge 54 with the oncoming wind direction shown as arrow 56, the angle of attack 58 is the angle between the wind direction and the chord 60 of the airfoil 50 shown as a dashed line 60.
  • The wind carries sand and rain and debris into contact with the leading edge 52 and impinges on its contoured surfaces 62 and 64 on either side of the leading edge. These leading edge areas are the test surfaces simulated by the test airfoil of FIG. 3. and are generally where the damage occurs as best shown in the drawing representations in FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • Terminology Definitions
  • The term “airfoil” as used throughout this specification is meant to be more expansive than the conventional airfoil shaped structure in FIG. 4 and will also encompass structures such as hydrofoils which have an aerodynamic shape that is somewhat different than FIG. 4 but are similarly subject to wind or water carried sand and debris. Such included shapes are radomes shape which would have a leading edge in the form of a narrowed point rather than the leading edge which is geometrically a line in FIG. 4 airfoil form. Aircraft antennae are shaped to allow smooth airflow around them and are considered within the term “airfoil” as are other devices benefiting from the advancement of the embodiments such as windmill blades, turbine blades, runner blades, fan blades, compressor blades, propeller blades, vanes, stay vanes, hydroelectric turbines, marine propellers, hydro turbines, gas turbines, tide mills, windmills, compressors, pumps, blower, impellers, propellers, and many kinds of fans all of which have the common feature of having fluid passing by the surfaces which may carry damaging sand and debris.
  • The term “leading edge” will similarly be understood to have a broader meaning than shown in FIG. 4 and should be defined as a narrowed surface designed to encounter the wind or other fluid such as water. It is may be an elongated narrowed edge in the case of a rotor blade, wing, antenna, windmill blade or a sharper edge surface as in a propeller blade or a forward wind encountering point area as in a radomes (which may have a blunt conical form or other generally rounded shape).
  • The term “elastomeric” as used herein generally is understood to be any flexible material which has an ultimate elongation at break as measured by ASTM D412-92 of at least 40% at break, preferably 80% and more preferably 100%.
  • The terms “sprayable” or “spray-applied” or “sprayed” all are meant to describe materials that are coated and bonded onto a substrate, such as an airfoil, particularly the leading edge and surrounding areas using spray techniques. This terminology distinguishes elastomeric materials that may be applied to the substrate as a premolded and/or preshaped boot of elastomeric material, a preformed tape material which is adhered to the airfoil or a preformed sheet that may be bonded to the airfoil.
  • The term “hand sandable” is understood to mean a material whose surface is abraded away as loose debris within one minute of hand sanding. The hand sanding is done on a properly supported 10.5″×3″ area of the test material using moderate downward pressure with 80 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper. A “hand sandable” coating is characterized by the sample being able to be sanded by hand pressure into powder in less than 30 seconds or preferably less than 15 seconds, Excellent sandability preferably included one or more of the following additional properties: 1) sanding debris is coming off from the coating within 20 seconds, more preferably in less than 10 seconds of sanding, 2) Low friction during sanding, 3) No heat or low heat generation after one minute of hand sanding with normal effort, 4) Loose sanding debris in free flowing powder form, instead of gum up or rolled up agglomerate, 5) the amount of sanding residue on sanding disc is equal to or less than the amount left on the coating after sanding. Using the Particle Erosion Test Apparatus, we have found that materials with sand erosion rate of less than 0.020 grams are difficult to sand by hand. To be hand sandable by the definition of this invention, the material should have a sand erosion rate of higher than 0.020 grams, preferably higher than 0.030 grams and 0.040 grams. Materials having sand erosion rates between 0.020 and 0.030 sometimes exhibit slightly more difficult hand sanding characteristics.
  • The terms “primer and primer layer” are understood to mean a layer of a chemical composition that increases/improves the adhesion between the elastomeric erosion protection materials and the substrate. If the erosion protection material is supplied in the form a preformed molded boot or sheet, the primer can be an adhesive suitable for bonding the molded boot or sheet to the substrate. The adhesive may be supplied as brushable liquid or paste, as a dry heat activatable sheet or other suitable forms know in the adhesive industry. In such application, it is understood that the primer (adhesive) may contain an optional layer of gap-controlling material, such as open mesh or fabric, which will serve to control the amount of the adhesive deposited between the erosion protection material and the substrate.
  • It has been found to be very difficult to repair the pits, craters, and holes scattered throughout the leading edge of a helicopter rotor blade or other leading edge surfaces. Common repair techniques of using a putty knife and putty-like solid repair resin do not work well in this application. The damage sites can be too small for a material with putty consistency to flow in. The putty knife cannot repair a curved surface either.
  • A helicopter rotor blade or other leading edge structures are well defined aerodynamically shaped surface. The airfoil shape of the rotor blade is characterized with a very sharp curve at the leading edge. A repair resin must have the proper viscosity so that it does not run or drip from the sharp curve during the repair procedure. Any repair to the blade surface must minimize the distortion of the aerodynamic contour.
  • The difficulty of repairing a damaged elastomeric surface has limited the total service life of an elastomeric erosion protection system on a helicopter rotor blade. Currently, elastomeric molded boot and self adhesive polyurethane tape are used to protect the blades. Once the damage occurs on surface and in the body of the elastomeric materials, the self adhesive elastomeric tapes may encounter sudden catastrophic adhesion loss and fly away from the rotor blades during flight, which become a safety concern for aerodynamic balance of the rotors. The alternative existing elastomeric covering of a rotor takes the form of a preformed, molded boot that is adhesively bonded to the blade substrate. The elastomeric boot is usually left to erode until not usable and then replaced. Replacing the tape and the boot are both very labor intensive operations, involving the removal of the rotor blade from the helicopter, stripping off all old coatings by a variety of methods, applying some replacement elastomeric materials and then carefully conducting weight balancing of the blade after the repair procedure. If the field unit is not equipped to do the repair, the entire rotor blade must be sent back to a depot facility to do the repair and overhaul. The transportation of the rotor blades is costly and time consuming.
  • Another deficiency of the current erosion protection methods is the lack of an early erosion indicator that enables the user to take preventive action to stop the erosion going all the way through the elastomeric coating and ultimately into the substrate. The commercial erosion resistant sprayable coatings use one color gloss or matte color schemes. If a basecoat and a matte topcoat are used, the prior art coating systems typically use a gloss or semi-gloss basecoat, and a matte topcoat, both of the same or very similar colors. In these systems, even though the underlying primer or adhesive of different texture or different colors may be utilized, the total system does not provide sufficient warning for the users to take preventive actions when there is slight damage to the elastomeric coating. Once the underlying primer or adhesive is exposed, the elastomeric protective coating is damaged to the point of not being serviceable any longer. This inability to detect early and slight damage shortens the service life of the rotor blades and other airfoil-type structures with leading edges, such as radomes and antenna structures on the aircraft. Because the prior art elastomeric erosion protection materials typically erode to the substrate with deep cratering and pitting, the damage usually reach the substrate before any corrective actions can be taken. This can be detrimental to a composite structure as the underlying composite layers of the rotor or airfoil can be punctured through by rain erosion in a very short period of time.
  • Still another deficiency of the existing erosion protection systems is the difficulty of coating removal from the substrate. Coating removal is an essential part of a successful field repair procedure. An elastomeric erosion resistant coating by its nature is very difficult to remove. The common methods use a solvent based stripper to soak through the coating to soften or dissolve the primer. Typical primers suitable for such procedure include polyvinyl butyral based wash primers. While the procedure works well to remove the erosion resistant coatings, the use of excessive amount of hazardous solvents is not desirable. In addition, it takes a long time, typically overnight soaking, to soften or dissolve the primer. In military or other emergency operations, the helicopter cannot be out of service for many hours, waiting for this lengthy repair procedure.
  • Many advantages can be achieved by the repair methods and procedures in the embodiments described hereafter.
  • The field repair of the cavities caused by rain erosion or impact damage on the curved surfaces of an airfoil structure can be accomplished with the use of a flexible airfoil contour applicator also called a Flexible Applicator (FA) as described more fully below. Additional steps in the repair of rotor blade damage may include one or more of the following steps: 1) Surface preparation including sanding, 2) Application of primer or adhesive, 3) Application of basecoat, and 4) application of topcoat.
  • 1. Surface Preparation Step
  • On a rain or impact damaged surface, there are holes and cut surfaces, with some remaining debris hanging around the wells of the craters, pits and holes. This “raised” debris must be removed or smoothed to correspond with the surrounding contoured surface. Exacto knives can be used, but are discouraged due to the risk of damage to the composite substrates. We have found that a pair of scissors, most preferably curved scissors, can be used to trim off the raised debris. The curved scissors has a curvature that can touch the damage sites at proper angle to trim off the debris. This is especially helpful in the surface preparation of sand erosion resistant elastomeric erosion protection coatings, since they are very difficult to smooth out with abrasive sanding. For example, elastomeric polyurethane coatings containing no filler or low concentration of fillers tend to “smear” or “gum up” when abrasive sanding is used. These coatings will be extremely tiring for a worker or soldier to sand the large rotor blade in the repair procedure.
  • Hand Sandable Embodiment
  • To be practically repairable in the field, the new erosion protection system of this embodiment should preferably be sandable by hand in the field, on the aircraft, without the need to remove the rotor blade from the aircraft. In one preferred embodiment, the coating is made to be hand sandable on purpose. This is a significant departure from the currently employed erosion protection materials. The conventional erosion protection method strives to make the elastomeric coatings or resins as erosion resistant as possible, thus making the unfilled or lightly filled/pigmented elastomer extremely difficult to remove by sanding when repair is needed. These materials are not “hand sandable” as defined above. This embodiment discloses the opposite concept in the design of the erosion protection system. In this embodiment, additional fillers are added to decrease the sanding resistance of the basecoat on purpose, and in many applications where sand impingement is encountered, a thin layer of sand erosion resistant topcoat is used on top of the sandable basecoat to form the total erosion protection system. In this preferred embodiment, the thin layer of the topcoat and the thick layer of the basecoat can be sanded with the use of proper grade of sanding medium, yet still achieve high erosion protection against rain and sand erosion. By using this new concept with the added early erosion multi-color warning indicator that will be described in detail below, a field repairable, renewable erosion protection system for protection of the leading edges of airfoils is achieved.
  • On a helicopter rotor blade or other airfoil-type leading edges having very well defined aerodynamic surfaces, conduct of an electrically or pneumatically powered sanding operation is a dangerous procedure as over sanding can easily damage the composite honeycomb structure underneath the composite skin. Electrical or pneumatic power sanding may be used in a depot environment where experienced personnel routinely perform the sanding procedure, but are not practical for a field repair environment where inexperienced personnel are handing the sanding tasks under non-ideal working conditions. It is preferred to use hand sanding because the human hand can sense the contour of the substrate and dynamically adjust the degree of sanding force against the coating for optimum removal without damage to the substrate. If sanding discs are used for hand sanding, self-adhesive palm sized sanding discs are preferred. Those with self-stick adhesive that can be held securely attached to the palm of the hand are especially useful. Grit sizes between 40 to 200 grits may be used, with 80-120 grits especially preferred. We have found, quite surprisingly, a stiff sanding disc with a center insert, originally designed for metal grinding at high speed, works especially well as an optimal hand sanding disc to sand elastomeric erosion resistant materials. The small rigid center insert, as seen on commercial sanding discs such as 3M Roloc TSM 361F discs, allows the finger to press the sanding disc hard against the elastomeric coatings to effectively remove the coating. A sanding block with proper grade of sand paper may be used when the technicians are highly skilled and well trained.
  • Examples of some of the preferred tools and accessories for use in the repair kit which will be later described in detail may include: Curved scissors, Roloc sanding discs, and self-stick sanding discs. Other sanding supplies may also be used. The sanding of the damaged area may create loose coating debris and powders. These loose powders and debris must be removed from the work surface before the repair resins can be applied. To remove the loose debris and powders, it has been found that different solvents have different cleaning power. A good cleaning solvent does not attack or soften the erosion protection elastomers, but is able to pick up the loose powders effectively. Slower evaporating solvent is preferred as the field repair is conducted outdoor in open air. Lint free wipers are preferred for use with the cleaning solvent in this procedure.
  • 2. Application of Primer/Adhesives
  • If the erosion damage reaches the substrate, an adhesion promoting repair primer is usually required. Afterwards, a hand sandable repair basecoat is applied to fill in the cavities, with the aid of the flexible applicator using the application method of deforming the flexible applicator to conform to the contour of the airfoil allowing the basecoat repair resin to be spread with the flexible applicator into the cavities without leaving repair resin on the undamaged portions of the airfoil surfaces. Once the basecoat is hardened then it is followed by application of the sand erosion resistant Repair Topcoat.
  • When the primer is eroded and the substrate is exposed, the repair primer, which may be an epoxy primer, must be used with great care and precautions to prevent it from being inadvertently deposited on top of the intact original elastomeric coating. It has been experimentally found that if spots or areas of the epoxy primer are left on top of an elastomeric polyurethane erosion resistant coating, the epoxy primer will cause early erosion initiation, probably due to the stiff, high modulus nature of the epoxy base of the primer which is markedly different from the lower modulus of the basecoat causing stressed to develop at the interface which cause cracks and premature failure of the basecoat integrity. Therefore, the primer must be applied only to the exposed substrate areas at the bottom of the cavities without any primer being overlapped onto the undamaged surrounding elastomeric coating surface.
  • Because of the typical small size of the rain erosion induced damage cavity, depositing the proper amount of primer is a significant challenge which requires skill and practice to achieve. Most paint brushes used in any normal painting jobs are too big for this procedure. Practice of this embodiment preferably includes the use of micro-sized tips or brushes for the repair of erosion protection system. Especially preferred are the tips or brushes that can control the deposit size to about 11.0 mm, 2.0 mm and 3.0 mm in diameter. These dot-placement brushes are very useful in priming the craters, pits, cracks, and holes. They can also be used to apply the primer to an area larger than craters, pits and small holes. For erosion damages that have enlarged to a somewhat bigger area, small width bristle brush can be used. Examples of suitable applicators for applying the primer are Microtip, Microbrush and Ultrabrush manufactured by Microbrush International, Wisconsin, USA.
  • The repair primer may be formulated from suitable known primer bases including but not limited to epoxy, polyvinyl butyral, polyurethane or other polymer system with good adhesion to the substrate. It is preferred to have a fast drying and fast curing primer so that the erosion resistant coatings can be applied on top of the primer within short time such as one to two hours. When priming, with the special micro-sized brushes, the superfine round tip Microbrush is used to deposit micro dots into the small pits and craters. A larger brush is used for spreading the primer onto bigger areas, preferably using about 3/16″ wide strokes to “paint” larger areas with primer. When the primer becomes tack free or cures to proper stage (depending upon the primer base system), it is ready to be coated with the basecoat.
  • If the hand sandable basecoat takes the form of a preformed molded boot or sheet, the primer takes the form of an adhesive to bond the preformed boot or sheet to the substrate. The adhesives may have bonding strengths that are classified as “permanent adhesive” or “moderate bonding strength adhesives” that are formulated to be removable. The adhesive may be pressure sensitive or non pressure sensitive. A layer of open mesh or fabric may be used to control the thickness of the adhesive deposited.
  • Repair of the Basecoat
  • The hand sandable basecoat may be supplied in the form of a preformed molded boot, sheet or tape. In this case, the boot or sheet is made to be hand sandable with the addition of sufficient amount of fillers and the boot or sheet is formed. The methods of forming molded boot and sheet may include molding, casting, spraying, dipping, brushing and other processes. The preformed molded boot or sheet may be used to form a new erosion protection system at the blade manufacturer's facility or may be used as field repairable parts. In either case, the hand sandable molded boot or sheets are bonded to the airfoil substrates by the use of an adhesive, with or without an optional layer of gap-controlling open mesh or fabric, which is used if there is erosion damage on the boot or sheet.
  • For use as hand sandable repair basecoat to repair the hand sandable molded boot or preformed sheet, the basecoat is formulated to cure in a relatively thick film or layer and be flexible. The Repair Basecoat may have a pot life of about 30 minutes to four hours after mixing. This range of pot life provide a reasonable work time for the repair procedure. Longer or shorter pot life may be used depending on the environment and work schedule. The coating gets thicker as time goes on and becomes very viscous, but still spreadable. This dynamic change of viscosity can be used to good advantage to do the repair. When the viscosity is still low (coating still has thin consistency for about the first 30 minutes), the repair resin can be used to deposit a thin layer onto the damaged areas. The fluid coating will spread into the micro-pits and craters and seal the primed surfaces. As the viscosity increases, the repair resin can be used to build up the coating thickness faster as it has less tendency to flow on its own.
  • For isolated small pits and craters, brushes with small width or diameter can be used; those with width or diameter less than 4.0 mm are especially preferred. Examples of suitable brushes are the Microbrush and the Ultrabrush, which can be used to deposit the basecoat into the small openings. In contrast to the primer application, the basecoat repair can use heavy, thick deposits. In this case, the Microbrush can deposit a thick layer of basecoat upon one single contact with the substrate without spreading.
  • On a rotor blade, turbine blade, propeller blade and other fan blades, the thickness of the blade may change along its length, from the inboard section to the outboard section. The blade may also have a twist along the surface. To apply the thick basecoat efficiently in one application, this embodiment discloses the use of a flexible applicator for this purpose. The flexible applicator is bendable along the curvature of the leading edge surface. The size of the flexible applicator can be as big as the area to be repaired. For helicopter rotor blades, the rain erosion damages usually focus around 2 inches (5 cm) on both sides of the leading edge of the blade, while combined sand and rain erosion damages typically occurs within 8 inches (20 cm) on the sides of the leading edge of the blade. Therefore, a flexible applicator with coverage of 8 inches or less on both sides of the rotor blade will be sufficient. Larger size or smaller sizes can be used depending on the actual contour and dimension of the blades.
  • The flexible applicator can also be used to apply the coating onto the flat surface of the blade. In this case, the edge of the applicator is used like a flat scrapper to smooth out the coating on a flat surface.
  • The flexible applicator can be made of a semi-rigid, bendable material, which can be metal, plastic, or rubber. It needs to be rigid enough to hold its shape, but flexible enough to bend along a continuously changing curvature. Flexible semi-rigid plastic sheets are preferred. Especially preferred are semi-rigid, flexible plastic sheets with high solvent resistance and good release properties. High density polyethylene and polypropylene sheets are particularly preferred
  • It has been found that one of the simpler forms of the flexible applicator is a polyethylene sheet or polypropylene sheet that has the proper combination of being flexible enough to bend along and conform to the curved surface, while still being rigid enough to hold its shape to apply and shape the coating along the curvature. Both high density polyethylene and polypropylene have excellent solvent resistance and release properties. The suitable thickness of the sheet depends on the selection of the applicator materials, as long as it is bendable with proper stiffness. Potential thickness of the applicator may be from 0.005″ to 0.030″ or other suitable thickness as the particular curvature of the substrate and viscosity of the materials being applied dictates. Reasonable experimentation with various thicknesses and types of plastic materials may be necessary to yield optimal results.
  • FIG. 5 is shown as a photograph because it provides the best visualization of the application technique of this embodiment. The airfoil chosen for illustration is a helicopter rotor blade 60 having a leading edge 62 which has damage cavities 64 in its contoured surfaces. The flexible applicator 68 is made of a 0.010″ (0.25 mm) thick high density polyethylene sheet. The flexible applicator edge 68 forms a continuous line contact with the contoured surface of the leading edge using downward pressure indicated by the force vector arrow 70. At the same time the force 70 is applied in the direction of the surface, the flexible applicator is drawn in a direction 72 that is parallel to the leading edge 62. The basecoat repair material (not visible in this view) is under the curved surface of the flexible applicator in a rolling bank of material that is moved ahead of the flexible applicator edge 68 as the applicator is smoothly drawn in the direction 72. The basecoat repair material completely fills the damage cavities 64 as the rolling bank of repair material passes over the cavities. The applicator edge's continuous line contact with the contoured surface of the leading edge does not deposit significant amounts of repair material anywhere except in the cavities 64.
  • Types of Flexible Applicators
  • It has been experimentally determined that the curved surface or airfoil repair embodiment is enhanced by the use of a “Flexible Applicator” (FA). In the simplest embodiment the flexible applicator is a flexible plastic sheet. In using the simplest, flat sheet-type of flexible applicator, the coating can be deposited onto the substrate, or onto the applicator, or both surfaces. The flexible applicator is then “dragged” along, or “pulled” along the curvature, generally in the longitudinal direction or long dimension of the airfoil, rotor or blade. It has been found that applying a sufficient amount of repair coating material on both the applicator and substrate surfaces gives a helpful “lubricating effect.” This technique allows the flexible applicator to “glide” easily along the curvature of the airfoil surface.
  • In practicing this embodiment, it has been found that it is preferred to use moderate force to pull the flexible applicator tightly against the substrate surface. By maintaining the force on the applicator, good control of the coating thickness is maintained and there is not excessive build up of the repair coating on an undamaged curved surface of the airfoil being repaired. It has been determined that keeping the flexible applicator wet and lubricated is very beneficial in doing the repair procedure. When the resin becomes dry or the repair resin is exhausted, the repair resin gets sticky and does not break cleanly. The applicator embodiments of FIG. 8 deal effectively with this by incorporating the feature of continuous feed of resin into the surface contact region under the flexible applicator. This combination of desirable characteristics of the flexible applicator technique assures that the aerodynamic characteristics of the airfoil being repaired is not altered by the repair. One important characteristic of this embodiment is the unique ability to fill in the irregularly shaped and sized pits, cracks, craters, and holes in one application on each curved surface. In comparison to conventional method of filling each erosion damage site individually, this method of application results in great savings of time and labor.
  • The dimension of the flexible applicator needs to be wider and longer than the size of the damage cavities. The dimension of the flexible applicator is such that the semi-rigid, semi-flexible applicator is able to maintain the outside contour of the original curved surface, so that it spread the liquid coating to a thickness not thicker than the original outside contour of the airfoil.
  • This is very important to an aerodynamically sensitive structure like rotor blade, radome, antenna, fan blade, turbine blade, etc.
  • The repair resin may be applied onto the leading edge surface first, and then the flexible plastic sheet is positioned over the leading edge and pulled along its surface. Or the repair resin may be applied onto the plastic sheet and then it is pulled over the damaged surface area. Or the repair resin may be applied to both the leading edge and the plastic sheet, and then the plastic sheet is pulled along the leading edge to thin out the resin and squeeze the resin into the holes and craters.
  • Alternative Flexible Applicator Embodiments
  • Using the same flexible/conformable scraper blade concept, various hand applicator tools can be designed to fit well with the leading edge structure of various shape and sizes. Such flexible applicators are within the contemplation of this embodiment and various thicknesses, shapes and materials are contemplated as suitable for a flexible applicator so long as they are capable of following the contour of the curved leading edge surfaces. FIG. 6 shows a preformed flexible applicator 70 which is made of suitable plastic or metal and formed into a flexible yet permanent shape of the exact cross sectional outer contour 72 of the cross section of the airfoil 74 being repaired. The edge 76 of the flexible applicator 70 is contoured to be complementary to the outer contour 72 and will function to move a rolling bank of repair material 78 ahead of it as it is moved parallel to and along the leading edge 80 of the airfoil 74 as shown by arrow 82. The wider, open end 84 accommodates the volume the rolling bank of repair material 78 which completely fills in any cavity 86 in the surface 88 of the airfoil 74 being repaired as the flexible applicator is advanced along the leading edge of the airfoil. The shape of this end of the applicator is not limited by any consideration except leaving enough volume to be able to replenish the repair material, ergonomics of the operator and factors relating to how it is manufactured. The material used for this flexible applicator should have elastic memory or sufficient stiffness after it is formed to the proper curvature of edge 76 to be able to wipe any excess repair material 78 ahead of the edge 76 in a wiping or squeegee action. It is understood that the edge 76 could have an arc that is slightly smaller that the leading edge to assure that there is pressure exerted by the applicator in the direction of the surface by the elastic memory or general stiffness of the material. This embodiment is useful for portions of the airfoil structures that a leading edge which has relatively uniform cross section to the over a substantial length of the airfoil. This embodiment is very useful in that it does not rely on delicate adjustments of downward pressure by the operator to maintain a good squeegee action. The tapered outer tip of the rotor blade or wing surface could be finished off with a planar flexible applicator 66 as illustrated in FIG. 5.
  • FIG. 7 shows a preformed flexible applicator 90 which is substantially similar in most regards to the applicator of FIG. 6 although the reference characters are not repeated. This embodiment includes a handle 92 enables better control by the operator of the orientation, direction and downward force applied toward the airfoil leading edge 94. The directional arrow 96 illustrates again the direction the applicator with the handle is moved. This handle may enable the operator to use only one hand to handle the applicator, allowing the other hand to be free to feed in repair material 98 as needed during repair operations. It also is essentially self tensioning through the natural downward force applied by the operator while keeping it in position against the airfoil leading edge. The handle 92 may be incorporated into the structure of the applicator by any conventional means, including being integrally molded into the applicator body or attached by any suitable method to the applicator body. The shape of the handle can be any suitable shape.
  • FIG. 8 shows another embodiment of a flexible applicator 100 which includes a fluid connector 102 which connects to the portion of the applicator that holds the repair material 104. The fluid connector has adapter 106 to attach to any suitable reservoir of repair material (not shown). This reservoir may be a simple bottle which can manually dispense the repair material 108 as shown by the directional arrow 108 into the fluid connector by squeezing a flexible bottle. It may be a caulking gun configured to feed the repair material into the fluid connector. The dispensing device may be a triggered device for metering either a single fluid or multiple fluids. In an embodiment where the repair material is of the type that has a two part composition, such as a part a base component and a part b curative material, the dispensing devise may be of the type that can meter the proper ratio of part a and part b and optionally also mix those parts together in a mixing apparatus prior to dispensing the repair material through the fluid connector into the working interior volume of the flexible applicator 102 where the rolling bank of repair material is positioned during use of the device.
  • The embodiments of FIGS. 7 and 8 can also be consolidated such that the handle 92 of FIG. 7 and the fluid connector 102 of FIG. 8 are in a unitary dual function structure. Of course separate handle and fluid connector are also easily designed to fit onto the specialized flexible applicator which can be easily manipulated by a single person.
  • Handsandable Basecoat and Repair Materials.
  • For utility as the molded boot, sheet or tape basecoat material and for use as the basecoat repair material in this invention, the coatings without filler should be elastomeric enough to be erosion resistant to rain or sand. Additional fillers may be added to increase the sand erosion rate. The repair resin/coating may be 100% solid without solvent or it may contain diluents such as solvent or water. The repair resin may be reactive or non-reactive (fully pre-reacted). It may contain some or all of the following ingredients: resins, curing agents, fillers, fibers, fabrics, viscosity modifier, pigments, hydrolysis stabilizers, adhesion promoters, coupling agents, UV stabilizers, defoamers, wetting agents, etc. The repair resin/coating may be as fluid as a brushable coating up to as viscous as a flowable caulking compound.
  • For use as sandable, erosion resistant coating, the coating is made from a highly flexible coating composition with additional fillers added at a sufficient level to allow for particulate removal of the top surface of the polymer during sanding. The organic polymers suitable for forming the hand sandable coatings can comprise polyacetals, polyureas, polyurethanes, polyolefins, polyacrylics, polycarbonates, polyalkyds, polystyrenes, polyesters, polyamides, polyaramides, polyamideimides, polyarylates, polyarylsulfones, polyethersulfones, polyphenylene sulfides, polysulfones, polyimides, polyetherimides, polytetrafluoroethylenes, polyetherketones, polyether etherketones, polyether ketone ketones, polybenzoxazoles, polyoxadiazoles, polybenzothiazinophenothiazines, polybenzothiazoles, polypyrazinoquinoxalines, polypyromellitimides, polyquinoxalines, polybenzimidazoles, polyoxindoles, polyoxoisoindolines, polydioxoisoindolines, polytriazines, polypyridazines, polypiperazines, polypyridines, polypiperidines, polytriazoles, polypyrazoles, polycarboranes, polyoxabicyclononanes, polydibenzofurans, polyphthalides, polyacetals, polyanhydrides, polyvinyl ethers, polyvinyl thioethers, polyvinyl alcohols, polyvinyl ketones, polyvinyl halides, polyvinyl nitriles, polyvinyl esters, polysulfonates, polysulfides, polythioesters, polysulfones, polysulfonamides, polyureas, polyphosphazenes, polysilazanes, polyolefins, polysiloxanes, fluoropolymers, polybutadienes, polyisoprenes, urethane acrylates, urethane methacrylates, natural rubber, nitrile rubber, or other synthetic polymers or co-polymers, polyblends that exhibit high flexibility or elastomeric properties, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing organic polymers. Exemplary organic polymers are polyurethanes, polyureas, fluoropolymers, urethane acrylates/methacrylates, fluorinated urethanes, fluorinated polyurea, copolymer or polyblends of polyurethane, polyurea or fluoropolymers. It is desirable for the polyurethane, the polyurea, and the fluoropolymers, to be an elastomer. The aforementioned organic polymers listed above can be blended and/or copolymerized with the polyurethane or polyurea if desired. The base elastomers can be fully reacted such as water based polyurethane, fully reacted thermoplastic elastomers such as polyurethane, TPR (Thermoplastic rubber), EPDM rubber, nitrile rubber, chlorinated rubber, butyl rubber, SBR (styrene butadiene) rubber, fluoroelastomer, silicone rubber, natural rubber, etc. The most preferred elastomer is polyurethane, polyurea and fluoroelastomers. Polyurethane and polyurea are both sometimes referred as polyurethane commercially. In this application, urethane copolymers, urea copolymers are also regarded as polyurethanes.
  • The isocyanates in the polyurethane elastomers can be aromatic or aliphatic. Useful aromatic diisocyanates can include, for example, 2,4-toluene diisocyanate and 2,6-toluene diisocyanate (each generally referred to as TDI); mixtures of the two TDI isomers; 4,4′-diisocyanatodiphenylmethane (MDI); p-phenylene diisocyanate (PPDI); diphenyl-4,4′-diisocyanate; dibenzyl-4,4′-diisocyanate; stilbene-4,4′-diisocyanate; benzophenone-4,4′-diisocyanate; 1,3- and 1,4-xylene diisocyanates; or the like, or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing aromatic isocyanates.
  • Useful aliphatic diisocyanates can include, for example, 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI); 1,3-cyclohexyl diisocyanate; 1,4-cyclohexyl diisocyanate (CHDI); the saturated diphenylmethane diisocyanate known as H(12)MDI; isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI); or the like; or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing isocyanates.
  • Other exemplary polyisocyanates include hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI), 2,2,4- and/or 2,4,4-trimethyl-1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate, dodecamethylene diisocyanate, 1,4-diisocyanatocyclohexane, 1-isocyanato-3,3,5-trimethyl-5-isocyanatomethylcyclohexane (IPDI), 2,4′- and/or 4,4′-diisocyanato-dicyclohexyl methane, 2,4- and/or 4,4′-diisocyanato-diphenyl methane and mixtures of these isomers with their higher homologues which are obtained by the phosgenation of aniline/formaldehyde condensates, 2,4- and/or 2,6-diisocyanatotoluene and any mixtures of these compounds.
  • In one embodiment, derivatives of these monomeric polyisocyanates can be used. These derivatives include polyisocyanates containing biuret groups as described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,124,605, U.S. Pat. No. 3,201,372 and DE-OS 1,101,394; polyisocyanates containing isocyanurate groups as described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,001,973, DE-PS 1,022,789, 1,222,067 and 1,027,394 and DE-OS 1,929,034 and 2,004,048; polyisocyanates containing urethane groups as described, for example, in DE-OS 953,012, BE-PS 752,261 and U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,394,164 and 3,644,457; polyisocyanates containing carbodiimide groups as described in DE-PS 1,092,007, U.S. Pat. No. 3,152,162 and DE-OS 2,504,400, 2,537,685 and 2,552,350; and polyisocyanates containing allophanate groups as described, for example, in GB-PS 994,890, BE-PS 761,626 and NL-OS 7,102,524. In another embodiment, N,N′,N″-tris-(6-isocyanatohexyl)-biuret and mixtures thereof with its higher homologues and N,N′,N″-tris-(6-isocyanatohexyl)-isocyanurate and mixtures thereof with its higher homologues containing more than one isocyanurate ring can be used.
  • Examples of suitable polyols are polyester polyols, polycaprolactone polyols, polyether polyols, polyhydroxy polycarbonates, polyhydroxy polyacetals, polyhydroxy polyacrylates, polyhydroxy polyester amides and polyhydroxy polythioethers. Exemplary polyols are polyester polyols, polyether polyols, polyesters derived from lactones (e.g., ε-caprolactone or ω-hydroxycaproic acid), or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing polyols.
  • Exemplary isocyanate prepolymers are TDI-ether, TDI-ester, TDI-lactone, MDI-ether, MDI-ester, H12MDI-ether, H12MDI-ester and similar prepolymers made from HDI, IPDI and PPDI. The isocyanate prepolymers with low free isocyanate monomers are preferred.
  • The coating composition also comprises an optional curing agent. Examples of suitable curing agents are aromatic amines that can be used as curing agents are phenylene diamine, 4,4′methylene-bis-(2-chloroaniline), 4,4′methylenedianiline (MDA), 4,4′methylenebis(2,6-diethylaniline), 4,4′methylenebis(2,6-dimethylaniline), 4,4′methylenebis(2-isopropyl-6-methylaniline), 4,4′methylenebis(2-ethyl-6-methylaniline), 4,4′methylenebis(2,6-isopropylaniline), 4,4′methylenebis(3-chloro-2,6-diethylaniline) (MCDEA), 1,3-propanediolbis(4-aminobenzoate), diethyltoluenediamine (DETDA), dimethylthiotoluenediamine; or the like; or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing aromatic amines. Polyaspartic esters may be used. Polyol curatives are polyester polyols, polycaprolactone polyols, polyether polyols, polyhydroxy polycarbonates, polyhydroxy polyacetals, polyhydroxy polyacrylates, polyhydroxy polyester amides and polyhydroxy polythioethers. Exemplary polyols are polyester polyols, polyether polyols, polyesters derived from lactones (e.g., ε-caprolactone or ω-hydroxycaproic acid), or a combination comprising at least one of the foregoing polyols. Imines are useful curatives, including aldimines, ketimines, and multifunctional imines. In addition to the above, curing agents that can produce elastomeric polymers with the isocyanate-terminated prepolymers or polyisocyanates are suitable. Additional examples of other suitable curing agents are listed in patent application Ser. No. 11/136,827, filed May 24, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • Atmospheric moisture may serve to cure solely or may catalyze the reaction between the polyurethane and the curing agent. This is referred to as moisture cure. For aqueous coatings, polyurethane dispersions can be used with or without curing agents. The crosslinking of aqueous polyurethane dispersions may be accomplished by the use of isocyanates, epoxy, aziridines, carbodiimides, and other functional materials.
  • Other additives useful in the coating compositions include leveling agents, adhesion promoters, coupling agents, defoamers, hydrolysis stabilizers, UV stabilizers, pigments, dispersants, curing accelerators, diluents, or combinations thereof.
  • In order to exhibit high erosion resistance with the fillers, the basecoat preferably utilizes a coating composition in which the elastomeric base of the repair coating prior to the addition of any fillers has been determined to preferably have a minimum tensile strength of 1000 psi, an elongation at break of higher than 100%, and a Shore A hardness of less than 95A, more preferred is 200% elongation and most preferred 350% elongation. These properties are generally tested according to ASTM D412-92 or D2370 if a film coating is being tested. Exemplary elastomeric bases along with specialized testing and test methods are as disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/136,827, filed May 24, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • The fillers that may be used to render the elastomeric base hand-sandable and will also increase the sand erosion rate for the repair basecoat layer include, but are not limited to, the following list:
  • silicates (such as talc, clays, (montmorillonite) feldspar, mica, calcium silicate, calcium metasilicate, sodium aluminosilicate, sodium silicate), metal sulfates (such as calcium sulfate, barium sulfate, sodium sulfate, aluminum sodium sulfate, aluminum sulfate), gypsum, aluminum trihydrate, metal oxides (such as calcium oxide (lime), aluminum oxide, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, tin oxide) and metal sulfites, metal powders, metal flakes, metal fibers, milled metal fibers, metal nitrides, graphite, carbon nanotubes, carbon fibers and milled carbon fibers, silica (such as quartz, glass beads, glass bubbles and glass fibers), metal-coated glass spheres, metal-coated hollow spheres, buckyballs, electroactive polymers, antimony-doped tin oxide, carbon blacks, coke, micro-balloons, and oxides, borides, carbides, nitrides and silicas from the group of compounds containing boron, aluminum, silicon, titanium, tungsten, and zirconium compounds.
  • Examples of organic based fillers can be used include thermoplastic powdery material such as polycarbonate, polyetherimide, polyester, polyethylene, polysulfone, polystyrene, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene block copolymer, Teflon, fluoropolymers, polypropylene, acetal polymers, polyvinyl chloride, polyurethanes, polyureas, nylon and combinations thereof. In general, some useful thermoplastic polymers are those having a high melting temperature or good heat resistance properties. There are several ways to form a thermoplastic abrasive particle known in the art.
  • The useful fillers have a hardness greater than that of the material forming the continuous phase of the coating. The particle size of the fillers may be from nano-sized to 200 microns, or preferably less than 100 microns. The filler content in the hand sandable coating, based on the total solid weight, can range from 10% by weight to 90%, depending on the interaction of the fillers and the base elastomers. Preferred is 20% to 80% by weight and more preferred is 30% to 70% by weight.
  • The surface gloss of the basecoat may be gloss, semi-gloss or matte. In some applications, the repair basecoat may be used without additional topcoat. For those applications that require a different surface gloss or different functional surface properties, another topcoat layer may be applied. The topcoat may be used to change the surface gloss, surface texture, or surface properties, such as antistatic or electrical conductivity. As earlier described, the topcoat may also be formulated to provide higher erosion (sand and water) resistance and applied over a basecoat. In the preferred embodiment, the sandable erosion resistant basecoat layer constitutes at least 50% of the total coating thickness. The total thickness of the hand sandable erosion protection system can be any thickness suitable for the protection of the substrate. In general, suitable erosion protection of a typical substrate involves a minimum thickness of 0.006″, more preferably 0.008″, most preferably more than 0.012″. A typical thickness for radoine protection is 0.014″. A typical thickness for rotor blade protection is about 0.020″ or higher. If molded boot or preformed sheet or preformed tape is used, the thickness can be higher than 0.060″ or even higher than 0.100″.
  • If the coating is 100% solid, one application with this procedure will fill in the cavities of the damage sites to their full height. If the coating contains solvent, the dry coating thickness depends on the dry solid content of the coating. In this case, a second application may be applied to build up the dry film thickness at the damage sites. Even though the evaporation of the solvent left very slight indentations at the damage sites, one application of the basecoat with the unique flexible applicator was able to repair the rotor blade quickly and the helicopter was able to continue flying in a short time period with no detrimental aerodynamic effects on the rotor blade.
  • The basecoat described here is used to fill in the erosion and impact damage sites and cavities.
  • We have found a very efficient method to repair the deep craters, pits and holes formed by erosion and impact damages. First, the repair resin is formulated so that there is a somewhat greater degree of “body” to it at the time of repair. The repair resin can be thixotropic, shear thinning, or simply having at least moderate viscosity. “Moderate viscosity” means that the repair resin can be brush applied and does not flow away from the applied surface. The repair resin can preferably be reactive, in which case the viscosity increases with time after the components are mixed together. The repair resin can also be nonreactive, being a fully reacted resin dissolved in solvent or water.
  • In practicing this invention, the repair resin/coating may contain special effect fillers, additives, fibers, fabrics to provide special functions and properties. If the added filler reduces the erosion resistance of the resin/coating, another layer of the topcoat with higher sand or rain erosion resistance can be applied on top of the repair resin/coating. In this case, the repair procedure comprises the application of primer (optional), the basecoat and the topcoat. The topcoat may be formulated to provide the desired color, gloss and erosion resistance, but in general not hand sandable, by the definition of this invention.
  • The invention may also be applied to single or multi-layered coating systems.
  • In some special applications, the topcoat may need to contain higher additive and/or filler loading in order to exhibit special properties such as antistatic properties. Alternatively, the topcoat may contain fillers that make the topcoat hand sandable. Even for these applications, it is still desirable to have the basecoat with hand sanding properties. These embodiments are considered to be within the scope of this invention.
  • Hand Sandable Elastomers Testing Techniques
  • One method to determine whether a coating is hand sandable is to use a hand sanding test. Another method is to use a mechanical particulate erosion test or a Taber Abrasion apparatus and then correlate to the ease of the hand sanding.
  • Hand Sanding Test
  • The coating materials are either spray coated onto the substrate or glued to the substrate with a double faced permanent pressure sensitive adhesive. A 3″ diameter sanding disc, 3M Roloc TSM 361F, with 80 grit aluminum oxide abrasive, is to be used as the sanding medium. The disc is stiff with metal hub at the center. The disc is bent on both side with fingers, and the middle section is pressed down against the elastomeric coating surface by using two central fingers. Using moderately firm pressure, the sanding is done with a timer clock for one minute. The sanding was focused in a small area about 1.5″×3″ in dimension. The weights before and after the hand sanding were recorded.
  • Comparative Example 1
  • Caapcoat Black B-274, a sprayable rain erosion resistant coating manufactured by Caap, Inc. was sanded as in the above procedure. The coating felt gummy, with a lot of resistance to sanding. The sanding disc got hot after about 15 seconds of hand sanding. Only trace amount of sanding powder/debris was obtained. The arm used in the hand sanding felt sore and tired after 40 seconds. The weight loss after one minute of sanding was 0.029 grams
  • Comparative Example 2
  • Caapcoat FP-200, a gray sprayable rain erosion resistant basecoat used in a basecoat-topcoat FP-250 coating system, was hand sanded. The coating felt gummy, with a lot of friction. The hand got tired after about 40 seconds. Low sanding dust was observed. There was some heat built up around 30 seconds. The weight loss after one minute was 0.040 grams.
  • Comparative Example 3
  • Caapcoat White, a gloss white sprayable rain erosion resistant coating, was sanded. Results were similar to Comparative Example 2. The weight loss after one minute was 0.022 grams.
  • Comparative Example 4
  • Caapcoat Fluoroelastomer V, a gray sprayable elastomeric rain erosion coating, was sanded. The film used for the sand test was 0.002″ thick due to the low solid content of the coating. The coating was sanded. The film ripped through easily due to low film thickness. However, poor sandability with very low sanding dust was observed. The weight loss after one minute, including the ripped pieces, was 0.050 grams.
  • Comparative Example 5
  • Chemglaze M331, a gloss black sprayable rain erosion resistant coating manufactured by Lord Corporation, was sanded. The coating produced very low sanding dust after one minute. The hands get tired after about 50 seconds. The weight loss was 0.024 grams after one minute.
  • Comparative Example 6
  • A piece cut from a Task L-101 molded boot manufactured by Task Inc. was sanded. The sanding disc got very hot in about 7 seconds. The sanding had to be continued by switching fingers to be comfortable. The weight loss was 0.062 grams after one minute.
  • Comparative Example 7
  • 3M 8545 tape, a black molded erosion resistant polyurethane sheet manufactured by 3M Company, was sanded. The sanding disc got very hot in 15 seconds. The material felt gummy, with trace of sanding dust rolled up together in lumpy form. The weight loss was 0.028 grams after one minute.
  • Comparative Example 8
  • 3M 8667 tape, a black molded erosion resistant polyurethane tape with pressure sensitive adhesive backing, was sanded. There was a lot of friction. The sanding disc got very hot in 15 seconds. The trace sanding dust rolled up into small lumps. The weight loss was 0.018 grams after one minute.
  • As seen in the above Comparative Examples, a person trying to sand a small 1.5″×3″ area for one minute using the current commercial erosion resistant coating could not remove much material, at the same time, the person felt tired, exhausted and also encountered uncomfortable heat generated in very short period of hand sanding. Thus when trying to utilize the materials of the Comparative Examples 1-8, it would not be practical or even possible to conduct a field repair of a rotor blade, which may measure about 20 feet long.
  • The hand sanding properties are determined by the total filler loading. As the filler loading increases, the polymeric film on top of the elastomer can be broken away and form loose debris, thereby making the hand sanding easier to perform. Because each filler has its own density and surface properties, the interaction of filler and the base elastomer varies and can be determined by experimental trials.
  • In contrast with the above Comparative Examples, a good hand sandable coating produced loose debris in powder form, with substantial amount of debris left on the coating surface after sanding, instead of being trapped inside the abrasive particles on the sand paper. In similar procedure by the same person using the same technique, the weight loss of the hand sandable coating is higher than 0.080 gram, preferably higher than 0.100 grams, and even more preferably higher than 0.150 grams.
  • FIG. 9 illustrates an example of the mechanical sand erosion apparatus as practiced in the Particle Erosion Test Apparatus, operated by the University of Dayton Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio. In this test, particles 90 are accelerated in a small diameter (approximately 0.25-inch) high-speed gas jet 92 and directed onto a test specimen 94 as illustrated in FIG. 9. Since the diameter of the jet is smaller than the test specimen area, the specimen holder and jet are articulated so that the test specimen 96 is moved through the jet in a uniform manner. This articulation provides a uniform particle loading (particle mass intercepted per unit surface area) over square area of approximately 316 cm2 (i.e., 7.0-inch square). The inner 6 inch square is considered valid test area. For the sand erosion test using a flat 1″×1″ specimen, the net sand erosion exposure area is a circle of 2.0 centimeter.
  • Compressed air 98 provides the transport gas stream with regulators and pressure transducers to measure and control the pressure at the nozzle inlet. Particles are metered into the transport gas stream from a pressurized screw feeder system. Since the screw feeder provides a very accurate and uniform particle flow, the particle mass applied to the specimen is determined by the run time based on prior calibration of the screw feeder.
  • Velocity is determined as a function of the nozzle inlet pressure by prior calibration. Thus, for a given test, a specific test velocity can be selected from this velocity versus pressure calibration. Particle size, velocity and impact angle 97 can be controlled independently. This provides an excellent capability to parametrically evaluate the response of critical materials and coatings to solid particle impact effects. Materials from such components as rotorcraft blade coatings, leading edges, windscreens, radomes, paints, and any special coatings can be evaluated in a well-controlled laboratory environment under realistic particle impact conditions.
  • The Particle Erosion Test Facility differs from the real flight environment in that the specimen is stationary and the particle field is moving at the specified impact velocity. Whereas the key parameters in the flight environment are the static cloud mass concentration (mass or volume of particles per unit volume) and velocity, in the particle erosion facility the key parameters are the particle mass loading and velocity. The relationship between the mass loading in the test facility, and dust cloud concentration, impact velocity and time in the flight environment is as follows:

  • Mass Load=Concentration*speed*time(*unit conversion factors).
  • Specimen size of 1 inch square is used to determine the sand erosion rate. The sand erosion was conducted with dry silica sand that have been sieved to 177-250 microns (um), Sand is sieved from F-series unground silica from U.S. Silica at a mean particle stream velocity of 500 miles per hour, using an impact angle of 30 degrees. The mass of impinging particles is set at 10 grams per square centimeter.
  • In the testing, the sand erosion rate for the same material from various test runs will cover a range of values. In general, sand erosion rates less than 0.020 grams is difficult to sand by hand. Values above 0.040 grams are easier to sand. Values between 0.020 and 0.035 grams are transitional range. When the filler loading is very high, the weight loss range for the same materials during different runs may be have a larger variation of test values. However, as long as they are above 0.050 grams, they will be easily hand sandable within the scope of this invention.
  • In practicing this invention in sandy environments, a layer of high sand erosion resistance elastomer is used on top of the sandable basecoat layer. To maintain the sandability, it is preferred to let the sandable basecoat occupy at least 50% of the total coating thickness. In general, it is preferred to use 0.004″ or thinner layer of the topcoat. In this embodiment, the sand erosion will erode the top layer, and then the basecoat and primer. When the basecoat is exposed, the erosion damage is first covered with a renewable sand erosion resistant coating. When the basecoat is eroded, it is easily sanded down and repaired with the procedure disclosed in this invention.
  • In one embodiment, the basecoat is configured to have a sand erosion rate (mass weight loss) of greater than 0.024 grams when tested according to the Particle Erosion Test Apparatus under 500 mph, 30 degree impact angle, 1×1″ specimen size, with 177-250 micron sand particles, more preferably greater than 0.030 grams, It is even more preferred to have the basecoat configured to have sand erosion rate of higher than 0.040 grams for better hand sandability.
  • In another embodiment, the molded boot, sheet, or tape (basecoat) is configured to have a sand erosion rate (mass weight loss) of greater than 0.024 grams, and at the same time contains a topcoat layer of having a sand erosion rate of less than 0.024, preferably less than 0.020 grams. It is more preferred to have a basecoat layer with sand erosion rate of higher than 0.040 grams, and a topcoat layer with a sand erosion rate of less than 0.015 grams, more preferably less than 0.010 grams. It is even more preferred to have a basecoat with sand erosion rate of greater than 0.050 grams and topcoat sand erosion rate of less than 0.010 grams. Inmost combinations, it is in general most preferred to have a topcoat with sand erosion rate of less than 0.010 grams.
  • In another embodiment, the basecoat is configured to have a sand erosion rate of greater than 0.040 grams, and a topcoat with sand erosion rate of lower than 0.040 grams. In another embodiment, the basecoat is configured to have a sand erosion rate of greater than 0.050 grams, and a topcoat with sand erosion rate of lower than 0.040 grams.
  • In another embodiment, the basecoat is configured to have a sand erosion rate of greater than 0.050 grams, and a topcoat with sand erosion rate of lower than 0.050 grams, preferably less than 0.040 grams, more preferably less than 0.020 grams, most preferably less than 0.010 grams. Similar arrangement can be made to pair basecoat and topcoat up, with basecoat having higher sand erosion rates than the topcoat.
  • For use in the water environment without sand erosion concerns, the basecoat layer containing filler that retains good rain erosion resistance can be used alone, forming a single layer sandable rain erosion protection coating system. In addition, a sandable topcoat layer may be added on top of the sandable basecoat layer. In this case, both layers are hand sandable. The requirements in this case are that both the basecoat and topcoat should have good rain erosion properties.
  • In the above embodiments, the hand sandable basecoat may be supplied as preformed molded boot, sheet or tape. In these cases, an adhesive with or without gap controlling open mesh or fabric may be used to bond the molded boot or sheet to the substrate. The hand sandable molded boot or sheet may be used as is without topcoat if it is in water environment and it has good water erosion resistance. In general, it is preferred to provide the hand sandable molded boot or sheet with another layer of topcoat with lower sand erosion rate than boot or sheet possess. The topcoat may be brushed on, sprayed on, or laminated on as a second layer on top of the molded boot or sheet.
  • Application of the Repair Topcoat
  • For minor damage situations where the erosion has only removed the topcoat and exposed the underlying basecoat, these areas need only topcoat repair. In addition, pits and craters smaller than 1/16″ can also be repaired by repairing the topcoat only. Slightly damaged surfaces can be wiped clean with solvents such as xylene, toluene, butyl acetate, MEK (methyl ethyl ketone), or other solvents. The Repair topcoat is configured to have higher sand erosion resistance than the base coat (molded boot or preformed sheet or tape).
  • Early Erosion Warning System Embodiment
  • This embodiment discloses the use of contrasting color in forming the airfoil erosion protection system. The coating system may comprise of a primer and/or adhesive of color A, a basecoat of color B, and an optional topcoat of color C. The colors of A, B, and C are formulated to provide a color contrast so that when the erosion reaches at each layer, it provides a visual warning and indication of the need for repair. The use of primer is optional, as some basecoat resin systems may possess sufficient adhesion that no primer is needed. In some cases, the coating system may contain only primer and basecoat, or in other only basecoat and topcoat.
  • In one embodiment, the basecoat is formulated to be in grayish color to provide contrast to the matte black topcoat. This serves as an Early Warning Indicator for erosion damage. The service life the rotor and its elastomeric protective coating can be greatly increased if routine repair procedures incorporate regular inspection for any visual indication of damage and if any is found, four to six repair layers of matte topcoat are sprayed whenever the gray basecoat is exposed to prevent any further erosion of the basecoat. The matte black topcoat is designed for use as a regular maintenance touch-up coating. It is to be used whenever the gray basecoat becomes visible.
  • In one embodiment, the hand sandable basecoat is supplied as preformed molded boot or sheet in one color. An adhesive of a second color, with or without gap controlling open mesh or fabric, is used to bond the molded boot or sheet to the substrate. Then a topcoat of a third color is used on top of the molded boot or sheet. This forms the Early Erosion Warning System for the molded boot or sheet erosion protection system. This design can be used on new airfoils or used as repair system in the field. brushed on while the rotor blade is still on the aircraft, in the field. According to the repair method embodiment, the application of the topcoat is used as the first line of defense against erosion damage.
  • The topcoat may be applied by brushing, dipping or spraying. If an underlying repair basecoat has been applied, the heavy thickness of the basecoat makes it preferred to allow time for the solvent to flash off from the basecoat before the topcoat is applied. Depending on application environment, one to two hours waiting time is generally sufficient. To obtain the best matte appearance, spraying is the preferred application method.
  • Spraying of the coating can be accomplished by any of the known spraying methods, including, but not limited to trigger sprayer, air powered pressure sprayer, propellant-powered sprayer, aerosol sprayer, pump sprayer, etc. For field repairs away from a pressurized air supply source, a small disposable hand trigger sprayer or aerosol propellant powered sprayer is especially preferred. An example of suitable propellant powered sprayer is the Preval Paint Sprayer (Spray Gun). The Preval Paint Sprayer includes a propellant-filled power unit for the sprayer and a container for the paint.
  • Typically a single spraying pass of the matte topcoat deposit about 0.0005″ (0.5 mils) of dried topcoat. Although it may vary with severity of damage it has been found that 4-6 spraying layers (0.002-0.003″) are suitable to maintain the erosion resistance of the coated blades after repair. The topcoat can be sprayed as many coats as needed. Alternatively, the topcoat may be brushed on top of the basecoat. To maximize the sand erosion resistance, a topcoat with low filler content, high sand erosion resistance is preferred. After repair, a rotor blade with renewed erosion resistance is placed back to service.
  • Example of Erosion Protection Using Hand Sandable-Preformed Molded Boot, Sheet or Tape
  • In the following embodiments, a releasable tooling surface, treated with release agent, or lined with release film or sheet, is used to form the preformed boots or sheets for later bonding onto suitable airfoil substrates. The tooling surface may be a flat surface or a curved surface complementary to the shape of the desired airfoil substrate. The surface may be smooth, glossy, matte, or textured. The tooling flat surface is typically used to form a sheet or tape. A curved surface is used to form a boot. When the flat surface is matte, the resulting sheet or tape can adopt the appearance of a matter surface without the use of a matting agent. The primer, adhesive, molded boot, sheet, tape and topcoat each has its own color to form the early erosion warning system.
  • In one embodiment, a hand sandable sprayable coating is sprayed onto a tooling surface. After drying and curing at ambient temperature to the desired thickness, the dry coating forms a flat sheet or an airfoil shaped boot. Then sheet or boot is bonded to the actual airfoil substrate using suitable adhesive with or without another primer. An additional sprayable topcoat is sprayed on top of the sheet or boot to the desired thickness. The topcoat may be hand sandable or sand erosion resistant. It is in general preferred to have the topcoat more sand erosion resistant than the basecoat. This forms a field repairable erosion protection system with preformed boot or sheet or tape.
  • In still another embodiment, the process of the above embodiment is repeated except that an additional topcoat is applied on the basecoat of the preformed sheet, tape or boot. After curing of the basecoat-topcoat combination, the sheet, tape or boot is removed and bonded onto the desired substrate.
  • In yet another embodiment, the spraying process is replaced by dipping or curtain coating, slot die coating or other coating process to form the sheet, tape, or boot. Other processes that are suitable to form the polymer sheet or boot into a predetermined shape also may be used.
  • in another embodiment, the sprayable coating is replaced by a hand sandable molding resin. The tooling surface is replaced by an open mold or closed mold. A topcoat is first formed on the mold surface to form the topcoat; then a hand sandable molding resin is applied onto the topcoat previously deposited on the mold surface. The molding process may be cast molding, compression molding, resin transfer molding, blow molding or other suitable molding process. Extrusion processes may also be used for linear configurations. Certainly the performing of tapes and sheets for these embodiments are readily adapted to be made by extrusion processes.
  • In another embodiment, a hand sandable molding resin is molded in an open mold or closed mold, or extrusion process. The hand sandable molded boot, sheet or tape is used to bond to the airfoil substrate with adhesive in the field, and then sprayed or brushed with a sand erosion resistant topcoat.
  • In another embodiment, the molded hand sandable boot or sheet is further sprayed with another topcoat after removal from the molding process; said topcoat is preferably of higher sand erosion resistance. The topcoated molded boot is then used in the field and bonded to an airfoil substrate, using adhesive with or without open mesh gap control material and an optional primer to form the bond.
  • If there are no sand erosion concerns in the working environment of the airfoil and the hand sandable preformed boot has good rain erosion resistance, the preformed boot can be used without another layer of topcoat. If there is sand erosion or other need to change the outer appearance or surface properties, another topcoat may be sprayed on by the end user. The topcoat will have its special functional properties.
  • Example of a Repair Kit
  • A Repair Kit for Airfoil Elastomeric Leading Edges is a very useful and novel combination of the particular materials described herein packaged in convenient carrying package for easy transport by mobile maintenance teams. The Repair Kit will preferably contain at least the following items: 1) A Flexible Applicator and 2) Repair Material which includes at least one of the following: repair primer, repair hand sandable basecoat or repair topcoat, depending upon the type of damage encountered. For applications not needing a topcoat, only the basecoat and optionally a primer are included. For applications without need of basecoat repair, only the repair topcoat needs to be included. For applications both basecoat and topcoat, both repair materials are include as well as the optional primer. The Kit may also optionally include any of the following items: special lint free wiper towels, curved trim scissors, disposable gloves, respirators, special selected sanding supplies, cleaning solvents, squirt bottle, disposable ½″ brushes, disposable Microbrushes, disposable Ultrabrushes. The Kit may be housed in any convenient package, for example, paper carton, plastic storage container and/or a plastic carry-on container for easy transport in military mission use.
  • Another embodiment of the Repair Kit for Airfoil Elastomeric Leading Edges may contain: A hand sandable preformed boot or sheet or tape, an optional sprayable or brushable topcoat, an adhesive, optional gap controlling open mesh or fabric. Another repair kit is useful to repair the handsandable tape or sheet or boot, including one or more the following:
  • The Repair Kit will preferably contain at least the following items: 1) A Flexible Applicator and 2) Repair Material which includes at least one of the following: repair primer, repair hand sandable basecoat or repair topcoat, depending upon the type of damage encountered. For applications not needing a topcoat, only the basecoat and optionally a primer are included in the kit. For applications without need of basecoat repair, only the repair topcoat needs to be included. For applications both basecoat and topcoat, both repair materials are included as well as the optional primer. The Kit may also optionally include any of the following items: special lint free wiper towels, curved trim scissors, disposable gloves, respirators, special selected sanding supplies, cleaning solvents, squirt bottle, disposable ½″ brushes, disposable Microbrushes, disposable Ultrabrushes. The Kit may be housed in any convenient package, for example, paper carton, plastic storage container and/or a plastic carry-on container for easy transport in military mission use.
  • Alternate Embodiments
  • While solvent stripping is not the preferred method for field repair, the repair methods disclosed in the embodiments herein are compatible with the solvent stripping coating removal method in the proper work environment. For example, solvent stripping in combination with the repair method embodiments can be practiced satisfactorily in a depot facility. For certain substrates such as radomes, sand blasting or other specialized media blasting techniques may be used to remove damaged material prior to repair as described in various embodiments herein.
  • Although the embodiments set out herein disclose the methods and materials for use in the airfoil repair procedures, it is readily apparent that the methods and materials embodied can be applied to new erosion protection systems for use on various airfoil leading edge surfaces which benefit from elastomeric erosion protection.

Claims (36)

  1. 1. A method for protecting an airfoil leading edge surface from sand and water erosion comprising the steps of:
    a) applying to said leading edge surface a preformed molded covering having a complementary shape to said leading edge surface;
    b) bonding said preformed molded covering to said leading edge surface; and
    c) applying a sand erosion resistant topcoat
  2. 2. The method according to claim 1 wherein said applying a sand erosion resistant topcoat step comprises brushing or spraying a plurality of layers to form said topcoat.
  3. 3. The method according to claim 1 wherein said preformed molded covering is a molded boot having an interior surface complementary in three dimensional shape to the outer surface of said airfoil leading edge surface.
  4. 4. The method according to claim 1 wherein said preformed molded covering is a molded sheet conformable to said airfoil leading edge surface and said basecoat being configured to have a sand erosion rate expressed, as mass weight loss, of greater than 0.024 grams, and said topcoat being configured to have a sand erosion rate of less than 0.020 grams.
  5. 5. The method according to claim 1 wherein said preformed molded covering is a preformed tape conformable to said airfoil leading edge surface.
  6. 6. An elastomeric erosion protection composite for airfoil leading edge surfaces comprising: a basecoat selected from the group consisting of a hand sandable preformed molded elastomeric boot and a preformed elastomeric sheet, said basecoat being bonded to said airfoil leading edge surface and a layer of sand erosion resistant topcoat disposed on top of said preformed molded boot or preformed elastomeric sheet.
  7. 7. The elastomeric erosion protection composite according to claim 6 wherein said basecoat is configured to have a sand erosion rate, expressed as mass weight loss, of greater than 0.024 grams and said topcoat is configured to have a sand erosion rate of less than 0.020 grams.
  8. 8. The elastomeric erosion protection composite according to claim 6 wherein said basecoat has a sand erosion rate, expressed as mass weight loss, of greater than 0.040 grams and said topcoat has a sand erosion rate of less than 0.01 grams.
  9. 9. The elastomeric erosion protection composite according to claim 6 wherein said basecoat has a sand erosion rate of greater than 0.050 grams.
  10. 10. The elastomeric erosion protection composite according to claim 6 wherein said basecoat is configured to have a sand erosion rate expressed as mass weight loss of greater than 0.040 grams and said topcoat is configured to have a sand erosion rate of less than 0.040 grams.
  11. 11. A single layer erosion resistant elastomeric coating for protecting airfoil leading edge surfaces from erosion comprising a single layer of an elastomeric, hand sandable basecoat adhered on said leading edge of said airfoil having a sand erosion rate above 0.020 grams/cm2 and a water erosion rate of greater than 100 minutes wherein said water erosion rate is performed with water droplet size of 1.8-2.0 mm, 90 degree impact angle and rainfall rate of one inch per hour.
  12. 12. The single layer erosion resistant elastomeric coating according to claim 11 wherein said elastomeric hand sandable basecoat composition is selected from the group consisting of a liquid resin, a brushable coating, a sprayable coating, a preformed solid sheet, a molded boot and a preformed tape.
  13. 13. The single layer erosion resistant elastomeric coating according to claim 11 wherein said elastomeric hand sandable basecoat composition is disposed on top of a primer selected from the group consisting of a liquid brush applied coating, a liquid spray applied coating, a liquid adhesive, and a solid adhesive.
  14. 14. The single layer erosion resistant elastomeric coating according to claim 13 wherein said primer layer includes a gap spacer comprising a material having interstices capable of holding said primer.
  15. 15. The single layer erosion resistant elastomeric coating according to claim 14 wherein said gap spacer is selected from the group consisting of a fabric and an open mesh.
  16. 16. An article of manufacture subjected to high speed impingement of sand and debris entrained in a fluid comprising a leading edge surface which encounters said sand and debris having adhered thereto an erosion resistant elastomeric coating of an elastomeric, hand sandable basecoat adhered on said leading edge surface of said airfoil having a sand erosion rate above 0.020 grams/cm2 and a water erosion rate of greater than 100 minutes wherein said water erosion rate is performed with water droplet size of 1.8-2.0 mm, 90 degree impact angle and rainfall rate of one inch per hour.
  17. 17. An article of manufacture according to claim 16 selected from the group consisting of windmill blades, turbine blades, runner blades, fan blades, compressor blades, propeller blades, vanes, stay vanes, hydroelectric turbines, marine propellers, hydro turbines, gas turbines, tide mills, windmills, compressors, pumps, blower, impellers, propellers, and fans.
  18. 18. An article of manufacture according to claim 16 wherein said erosion resistant elastomeric coating is applied by spraying a plurality of layers of said coating onto said leading edge surface.
  19. 19. An article of manufacture according to claim 16 wherein said erosion resistant elastomeric coating is applied by adhering to said leading edge surface a prefabricated elastomeric coating structure selected from the group consisting of preformed molded boots, preformed elastomeric sheets and preformed elastomeric tape.
  20. 20. An article of manufacture according to claim 16 wherein said erosion resistant elastomeric coating is adhered to the leading edge surface with a binding layer selected from the group consisting of a primer and an adhesive.
  21. 21. An elastomeric airfoil erosion protection coating for visual detection of water and sand erosion damage comprising:
    a) an adhesive layer of a first color applied directly on a structural substrate of said airfoil surrounding a leading edge of said airfoil;
    b) a basecoat of a second color selected from the group consisting of a preformed molded boot having a shape complementary to said leading edge of said airfoil, a preformed elastomeric sheet and a preformed elastomeric tape applied over said adhesive layer; and
    c) a topcoat of a third color on top of said basecoat, wherein said first color, second color and third color are contrasting colors allowing visual detection of damage to said protection coating by visual inspection to detect the appearance of the second color of said basecoat or first color of said adhesive layer indicating damage in the area.
  22. 22. A method of detecting damage to an airfoil erosion protection coating having an adhesive layer of a first color, a basecoat of a second color, said basecoat selected from the group consisting of a preformed molded boot, a preformed elastomeric sheet and a preformed elastomeric tape and a top coat of a third color comprising:
    detecting erosion damage by visually inspecting the erosion protection coating to detect the appearance of the second color of the basecoat or the first color of the primer which indicates that there is erosion damage in the area of the airfoil protection coating where the first color or second color appear.
  23. 23. A method of detecting and repairing damage to an airfoil erosion protection coating having an adhesive layer of a first color, a basecoat of a second color, said basecoat selected from the group consisting of a preformed molded boot, a preformed elastomeric sheet and a preformed elastomeric tape and a top coat of a third color comprising:
    a) detecting erosion damage by visually inspecting the erosion protection coating to detect the appearance of the second color of the basecoat or the first color of the adhesive layer which indicates that there is erosion damage in the area of the airfoil protection coating where the first color or second color appear; and
    b) reapplying a plurality of layers of said topcoat to the areas showing said first color or said second color.
  24. 24. A method of making an airfoil leading edge erosion protection coating capable of being field repairable by hand sanding, comprising:
    a) applying to an airfoil substrate a composite system comprising a hand sandable basecoat selected from the group consisting of a preformed molded boot, a preformed elastomeric sheet and a preformed elastomeric tape and a topcoat, said handsandable basecoat being of lower sand erosion resistance than the topcoat and said basecoat constituting at least 50% of the total coating thickness;
    b) subjecting said erosion protection coating to service which erodes portions of the topcoat away leaving a plurality of cavities in said basecoat having irregular edges;
    c) repairing said erosion protection coating by sanding said plurality of cavities
    d) applying a repair basecoat to fill said plurality of cavities to form filled cavities; and
    e) applying a repair topcoat layer over the filled cavities.
  25. 25. A method of detecting damage to a composite protective layer adhered to a leading edge surface of an airfoil structure comprising:
    a) applying an adhesive layer of a first color to the surface surrounding the leading edge of an airfoil structure;
    b) overlaying a basecoat of a second color different from the first color on top of said adhesive layer, said basecoat being selected from the group consisting of a preformed molded boot, a preformed elastomeric sheet and a preformed elastomeric tape;
    c) applying over said basecoat a topcoat of a third color different from the first color and the second color; and
    d) detecting damage to said airfoil structure from water and sand erosion by visually inspecting the leading edge of the airfoil to detect the appearance of the second color of the basecoat or the first color of the adhesive layer in areas where erosion damage has occurred.
  26. 26. An erosion protection coating for substrates adapted to be repairable by hand sanding comprising a topcoat and a sandable basecoat selected from the group consisting of a preformed molded boot, a preformed elastomeric sheet and a preformed elastomeric tape, wherein the basecoat has lower sand erosion resistance than the topcoat and said basecoat constitutes at least 50% of the total coating thickness.
  27. 27. A field repairable polymeric erosion protection composition positioned on and adhered to a leading edge surface of an airfoil comprising an elastomeric base composition loaded with fillers sufficient to render the polymeric erosion protection composition hand sandable, said base elastomeric base composition tested in accordance with ASTM D412-92 prior to incorporation of said fillers having a minimum tensile strength of 1000 psi, an elongation at break of at least 200%, and a Shore A hardness of less than 95A and said elastomeric base composition being selected from the group consisting of a preformed molded boot having a shape complementary to said leading edge of said airfoil, a preformed elastomeric sheet and a preformed elastomeric tape.
  28. 28. A repairable elastomeric coating for a leading edge surface of an airfoil comprising:
    a) an elastomeric, hand sandable basecoat selected from the group consisting of a preformed molded boot, a preformed elastomeric sheet and a preformed elastomeric tape disposed surrounding said leading edge surface having a sand erosion rate above 0.020 grams/cm2; and
    b) an elastomeric topcoat disposed on top of said elastomeric basecoat having a sand erosion rate below 0.020 grams/cm2.
  29. 29. The repairable elastomeric coating according to claim 28 wherein the basecoat has lower sand erosion resistance than the topcoat and said basecoat constitutes at least 50% of the total coating thickness.
  30. 30. A repairable elastomeric coating for a leading edge surface of an airfoil comprising:
    a) an elastomeric, hand sandable basecoat selected from the group consisting of a preformed molded boot, a preformed elastomeric sheet and a preformed elastomeric tape disposed surrounding said leading edge surface having an elastomeric base material having a minimum tensile strength of 1000 psi, an elongation at break of at least 200%, and a Shore A hardness of less than 95A with additional fillers added in sufficient amount to render the elastomeric base material sandable.
  31. 31. An airfoil repair kit comprising:
    a) an adhesive bonding material; and
    b) an elastomeric, hand sandable, basecoat selected from the group consisting of a preformed molded boot, a preformed elastomeric sheet and a preformed elastomeric tape repair material and an optional sand erosion resistant repair topcoat.
  32. 32. The airfoil repair kit according to claim 31 further comprising one or more components selected from the group consisting of a flexible applicator capable of conforming to a leading edge surface of an airfoil, a sanding disc, a primer, an elastomeric topcoat, a brush, and a disposable sprayer.
  33. 33. A method for making an erosion resistant preformed elastomeric leading edge coating comprising:
    a) spraying a plurality of layers of a hand sandable elastomeric composition onto a mold surface of predetermined shape;
    b) solidifying said hand sandable elastomeric composition;
    c) repeating steps (a) and (b) to form a dry coating of the desired thickness;
    d) removing said dry coating from said mold surface as said preformed elastomeric leading edge coating.
  34. 34. The method of claim 33, further comprising the steps of: (e) placing said preformed elastomeric leading edge coating on an airfoil leading edge surface of complementary shape;
    and (f) adhering said elastomeric leading edge coating onto said airfoil leading edge surface of said airfoil.
  35. 35. The method of claim 34, further comprising the steps of: (g) applying a topcoat over said elastomeric leading edge coating.
  36. 36. The method of claim 35, wherein said topcoat has a greater sand erosion resistance than said elastomeric leading edge coating.
US11818202 2005-12-14 2007-06-13 Method and coating for protecting and repairing an airfoil surface using molded boots, sheet or tape Abandoned US20080159870A1 (en)

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US11818202 US20080159870A1 (en) 2006-12-14 2007-06-13 Method and coating for protecting and repairing an airfoil surface using molded boots, sheet or tape
EP20080769954 EP2167382B1 (en) 2007-06-13 2008-06-02 Method and coating for protecting and repairing an airfoil surface using molded boots, sheet or tape
PCT/US2008/065480 WO2008157013A1 (en) 2007-06-13 2008-06-02 Method and coating for protecting and repairing an airfoil surface using molded boots, sheet or tape
DK08769954T DK2167382T3 (en) 2007-06-13 2008-06-02 A method and coating for the protection and repair of an airfoil surface by the use of molded caps, a sheet or strip
US13006058 US20110158807A1 (en) 2006-12-14 2011-01-13 Method and coating for protecting and repairing an airfoil surface using molded boots, sheet or tape
US13332744 US20120156049A1 (en) 2005-12-14 2011-12-21 Method and coating for protecting and repairing an airfoil surface

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EP2167382A1 (en) 2010-03-31 application
EP2167382A4 (en) 2011-08-03 application
EP2167382B1 (en) 2016-12-28 grant
WO2008157013A1 (en) 2008-12-24 application
DK2167382T3 (en) 2017-03-27 grant
US20110158807A1 (en) 2011-06-30 application

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