Ou Researcher Develops Quality Control Technique

Article excerpt

University of Oklahoma researcher Ronald A. Kline has developed a technique that focuses on quality control methods used in manufacturing.

The technique was designed for products made from fiber-reinforced plastic resins used in composite materials technology. Such technologies, of which plastics play a large role, "represents one of the greatest advances in aviation development in the past 50 years," said Kline, OU associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering.

Although composite technology will be applied increasingly in a variety of areas, Kline's research targets its applications to aviation manufacturing, where composite materials' characteristics of strength and low weight are particularly valuable.

Composites are being used increasingly in the manufacture of military aircraft and commercial airliners and, in particular, fighters and helicopters, he noted. Now, the F-14, F-15 and F-16 use composites for the tail features. The next generation of Air Force craft, some predict, could be 50 percent composites.

Fiber-reinforced plastics, which have surpassed metals in volume sold, are so versatile that the same substance thatmakes garbage bags also armors Army tanks.

Manufacturers now are discussing the future of synthetic fibers - cousins of plastics - that, among other things, may make possible the production of sweaters that change color wih the turn of a dial and suits that change their cut.

High-tech plastics technology already has made headlines in Oklahoma. Because it is made of polymer-coated sand particles, the track at Remington Park in Oklahoma City is never muddy - and it's faster and softer than regular tracks. …