Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aviation Technology

First Advisor

Ronald Sterkenburg

Committee Chair

Ronald Sterkenburg

Committee Member 1

Richard O. Fanjoy

Committee Member 2

Chien- Tsung Lu

Committee Member 3

Jeffrey P. Youngblood


In the aviation industry, manufacturers made the transition from aluminum to composite materials for the majority of their primary structures over the last few decades. While the design and manufacturing techniques have consistently evolved, field repair methods were consistently overlooked. In this study, specimens fabricated using some of the common repair methods such as the autoclave repair method, and Double Vacuum Debulk (DVD) repair method were tested against the Composite Aircraft Field Repair Method (CAFRM) proposed by the researcher. Specimens were tested with microscopy, acid digestion, short beam shear, and mode I fracture tests. The researcher was able to determine the specimen's void content, fiber volume fraction, shear strength, and opening mode interlaminar fracture toughness for the specimens fabricated using the different repair methods. The specimens fabricated using the autoclave repair method, DVD repair method, and CAFRM showed significant differences in void content, shear strength, and opening mode interlaminar fracture toughness. However, there were no significant differences between the specimens for fiber volume fraction.