Polyimide wire (commonly referred by the trade name, Kapton®), is the mustard colored kind of aircraft wiring that can be found in older civilian and commercial aircraft made before the 1995. Similarly to other wires, it degrades over time. However, unlike other common aircraft wire insulations, the damage that it causes through electrical arc tracking can be devastating to the aircraft.
It is possible to detect the current condition of the wiring system and forecast the system’s reliability. Lectromec has been performing research on polyimide wires for the last 20 years. Technologies like WIDAS and Inherent Viscosity have been used to determine the wire condition and project system reliability.
The application of these technologies has helped maintainance operators prevent failures identifying and preemptively making changes to their wiring systems and maintenance programs. This has also paid dividends reducing the unscheduled maintenance hours of our clients.
Further, being able to prioritize the condition of the aircraft wiring for replacement, it is possible to make business decisions based on data, and not simply maintenance reports.
Lastly, an additional benefit of these technologies is that they can be used to supplement a life extension program or regular maintenance. This can help identify which zones or harnesses can and should be replaced before they develop into issues.
For more information on aircraft wiring, read Lectromec’s Visual Inspection of Electrical Wiring article.