United States Air Force Academy

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Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension

The Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension (CAStLE) has a two-fold mission that supports the safe, economic sustainment of aging structures, primarily those of DoD systems.

First, is to perform a wide range of research and technology development projects focused on delivering critical science and technology (S&T) products required to understand material degradation in structures and systems on behalf of various government, academic, and commercial sponsors.

Second, but no less important, is to educate, train, inspire and otherwise prepare future generations that might become the core of the S&T community within the government and the general professional population.

  • Structural testing and analysis (full-scale, component level and coupon)
  • Material degradation (corrosion, cracking, etc.)
  • Material processing, testing, and development
  • Structural teardown analysis and root-cause analysis
  • Educational outreach and curricula development
  • Service loads and environment measurement and structural impact analysis
  • USAF Aircraft Structural Integrity Program support; component & full-scale testing, teardown analysis, flight data acquisition, root-cause analysis, modeling, etc.
  • Structural re-design, material substitution, prototyping, and validation testing
  • Basic research in material degradation prevention and control, OSD sponsored Technical Corrosion Collaboration between university, DoD, and commercial research groups
  • Multiple educational outreach programs: courses, videos, science center exhibits, student design challenges, college readiness programs, etc.

Cadet, now Major, Sarah Collins presents her research on the impact of corrosion on DoD weapon systems to the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James.



Dr. Gregory A. Shoales, PE
(719) 333-6213