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Proceedings Paper

Producibility And Life Cycle Cost Issues In Applications Of Embedded Fiber Optic Sensors In Smart Skins
Author(s): Michael D. Barrick
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Paper Abstract

Fiber optic sensors embedded in composite aircraft skins offer the capability of detecting physical parameters with extremely high sensitivity and bandwidth in unique "intralaminar" locations. The ultimate extent of usage of these sensors will be determined by the cost savings that they will provide through the availability of the additional sensed information versus life cycle costs in terms of producibility and maintainability. In the manufacturing process, fiber optic sensor "lay-in" must be compatible and integrable with the overall automatic or robotic manufacture of composite aircraft parts and should include automatic calibration and checkout. In addition, it would be highly desirable for these sensors to be used in cure monitoring and optimized control of processing. Over the lifetime of the aircraft, maximum sensor array utility should be achieved by multiple uses such as structural integrity monitoring, multi-color, low and high speed data buses, and new types of air data sensors. These sensors should have a reliable interconnection system and should be designed with adequate redundancy so that graceful degradation of the sensor array will be achieved. Maintenance policies and procedures for repair must be developed for dealing with failures in the fiber optic sensing system due to malfunctions and/or damage to the composite skins, e.g. bird strikes and combat damage. This paper discusses these aspects and others needed to yield a cost effective smart skin system.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 January 1989
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 0986, Fiber Optic Smart Structures and Skins, (16 January 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.948901
Show Author Affiliations
Michael D. Barrick, LTV Aircraft Products Group (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0986:
Fiber Optic Smart Structures and Skins
Eric Udd, Editor(s)

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