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Using energy harvesting implementations in aircraft design

Posted: 23 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:structural fatigue? health monitoring?

There can be no doubt that the structural fatigue of today's large fleet of aircraft is a serious issue and needs to be addressed. Fortunately, it is. This is being accomplished through more inspections, through improved structural analysis and tracking methods and by incorporating new and innovative ideas for assessing structural integrity. This is sometimes referred to as "health monitoring of aircraft." This process incorporates sensors, artificial intelligence and advanced analytical techniques to produce real time and continual health assessment.

Acoustic emission detection is a well-established method of locating and monitoring crack development in metal structures. It can be readily applied for the diagnosis of damage in composite aircraft structures. A clear requirement is a level form of 'go,' 'no go' indications of structural integrity or immediate maintenance actions. The technology comprises low profile detection sensors using piezoelectric wafers encapsulated in polymer film and optical sensors. Sensors are bonded to the structure's surface and enable acoustic events from the loaded structure to be located by triangulation. Instrumentation is then used to capture and parameterize the sensor data in a form suitable for low-bandwidth storage and transmission.

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