Sand Erosion Test Method for DOD Unique Environments

Report No. ARL-RP-229
Authors: Lynne Pfledderer; Marc Pepi
Date/Pages: September 2008; 24 pages
Abstract: The geologic and physiographic setting of Southwest Asia (SWA) makes this region one of the worst environments for erosion damage of rotor blade and leading edge aerospace components. In 2005, observations of actual SWA field failures of helicopter rotor blade protective tapes and coatings were compared to existing state-of-the-art, laboratory-based sand erosion data during a US Army sponsored program. Laboratory produced data did not match the severity of field-use damage, even under extremely high levels of particle loading. The need to test to erosive failure representative of this environment was determined to be paramount in establishing relative performance levels of erosion resistant protective systems being screened for potential field use. The goal of this effort is to provide two synthetic sand formulas capable of testing various polymer-based candidate rotor blade protective systems to failure. The test media will be derived from characterization of sand and dust materials unique to SWA. The synthetic sand mixtures developed by this effort will be incorporated in a new test protocol for sand erosion to represent a truly "worst case" test, with extended application to other aerospace components susceptible to sand erosion damage applicable to Department of Defense (DoD) activities in most dry - hot desert regions.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2008