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Proceedings Paper

Conformal and embedded IDT microsensors for health monitoring of structures
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Paper Abstract

MEMS are currently being applied to the structural health monitoring of critical aircraft components and composites. The approach integrates acoustic emission, strain gauges, MEMS accelerometers and vibration monitoring aircraft components with a known history of catastrophic failure due to fracture. Recently a combination of the need for safety in the air and the desire to control costs is encouraging the use of in-flight monitoring of aircraft components and systems using light-weight, wireless and cost effective microsensors and MEMS. An in-situ aircraft structural health monitoring system, with sensors embedded in the composite structure or surface-mounted on the structure, would permit the timely detection of damage in aircraft. Micromachining offers the potential for fabricating a range of microsensor and MEMS for structural applications including load, vibration and acoustics characterization and monitoring. Such microsensors are extremely small; they can be embedded into structural materials, can be mass-produced and are therefore potentially cheap. The smart sensors are being developed using the standard microelectronics and micromachining in conjunction with novel Penn State wireless communication systems suitable for condition monitoring of aircraft structures in-flight. The main application areas of this investigation include continuos monitoring of a) structural integrity of aging aircraft, b) fatigue cracking, c) corrosion, d) deflection and strain of aircraft structures, wings, and rotorblades, e) impact damage, f) delamination and g) location and propagation of cracks. In this paper we give an overview of wireless programmable microsensors and MEMS and their associated driving electronics for such applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 June 2000
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3990, Smart Structures and Materials 2000: Smart Electronics and MEMS, (21 June 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.388897
Show Author Affiliations
Vijay K. Varadan, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Vasundara V. Varadan, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3990:
Smart Structures and Materials 2000: Smart Electronics and MEMS
Vijay K. Varadan, Editor(s)

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