Students and professors from the South Dakota School of Mines are using innovative technology for repairs on a B-1B bomber. They used cold spray technology on a broken hinge. It’s a spray-on metal that adheres to a surface to form a mechanical bond.
Brian James is a Ph.D. student at the School of Mines and a chief engineer at Ellsworth Air Force Base. He said without cold spray technology the repair would have cost around $500-hundred thousand dollars.
“The whole spray was about six hours long. We were able to restore that for less than $10,000,” he said.
James said the aircraft was fully restored and ready to fly in 24 hours. Normally the repair would take eight weeks.
The School of Mines began researching cold spray technology 14 years ago. James said it has many potential applications.
“The sky's the limit and we can repair all forms of metallic components,” he said. “We can do nonmetallic components also. So, whether it's a militarized aircraft or commercial aircraft, we can dimensionalize and bring that part back to service.”
James said the new technology will change the face of aircraft maintenance. For more information go to www.sdsmt.edu.