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Proceedings Paper

Development of sensor technology to facilitate in-situ measurement of damgae in composite materials for spacecraft applications
Author(s): Matthew Charles Mowlem; Alan Chambers; John P. Dakin
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Paper Abstract

Spacecraft inhabit an environment, which presents many hazards to their structural integrity and continued operation, and are intrinsically expensive to repair. Naturally-occurring micrometeoroids and debris from previous missions can both produce significant impact damage, particularly in advanced materials such as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). A sensor capable of recording impact events, and measuring the extent of the damage caused, would therefore be a useful tool in minimizing the risks and cost of spacecraft operation. This paper considers the use of multiplexed optical fiber Bragg grating based sensors for use in this application. It is envisaged that sensors should be used to optimize replacement schedules and prevent service failure. The interrogation systems have been developed as collaborative research between the Optoelectronics Research Centre and the Department of Engineering Materials at the University of Southampton, also involving a number of external collaborators (including ESA, and, in the UK, the following: DERA, Sensor Dynamics, NERC, and DTI). We utilize superluminescent erbium doped fibers as the light source and an acousto-optic-tuneable filter (AOTF) as the wavelength-selective element. Our latest developments in interrogation technology result in the creation of a high speed, high-resolution multiplexed sensor. This technology shows promise for assessing impact damage caused by low, high and hypervelocity impacts. The potential for counting and characterization of impinging particles from strain sensor readings (both transient and residual) is discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 April 2001
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 4234, Smart Materials, (6 April 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.424400
Show Author Affiliations
Matthew Charles Mowlem, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)
Alan Chambers, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)
John P. Dakin, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4234:
Smart Materials
Alan R. Wilson; Hiroshi Asanuma, Editor(s)

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