Professor’s device sets out to change airline industry

Rylee Seavers | Broadcast Reporter

Dr. David Jack, professor of mechanical engineering, has been working on a portable scanning device for nine years which has the potential to change the airline industry.

“The device we’ve created uses a high frequency ultrasound to look inside the composite structure to basically build you a 3-D microstructure of what the layup is,” Jack said.

In short, the scanning device will help to ensure that repairs and modifications to a plane do not affect the existing structure.

Current scans for composite structures can only magnify the structure to about an eighth of an inch. But, Jack said the portable scanning device can magnify the structure of carbon fiber composites up to a tenth of a millimeter, which is about thirty times smaller.

Jack’s device will allow the user to the see small imperfections deep within carbon fiber composite materials.

The device may also help reduce the waste of carbon fiber composite materials because the current quality control relies on documentation. The device can fill in any gaps resulting from missing documentation and confirm information provided by paperwork.

“This helps check the human process of it,” Jack said.

Jack was the first researcher to set up a lab in the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative, said Dr. Truell Hyde, Vice Provost for Research.

“The BRIC was brand new, he was brand new, he didn’t have any research space so we actually established his lab in the building,” Hyde said. “So not only did we provide him facilities within which he could do his research, but then also found a connection with an industry that was interested in his research and was interested in helping foot the bill for that research.”

Jack is hopeful that the portable scanning device will become a standard tool used for the manufacturing and maintenance of carbon fiber composite materials.