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Proceedings Paper

Monitoring the bending and twist of morphing structures
Author(s): J. Smoker; A. Baz
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Paper Abstract

This paper presents the development of the theoretical basis for the design of sensor networks for determining the 2-dimensioal shape of morphing structures by monitoring simultaneously the bending and twist deflections. The proposed development is based on the non-linear theory of finite elements to extract the transverse linear and angular deflections of a plate-like structure. The sensors outputs are wirelessly transmitted to the command unit to simultaneously compute maps of the linear and angular deflections and maps of the strain distribution of the entire structure. The deflection and shape information are required to ascertain that the structure is properly deployed and that its surfaces are operating wrinkle-free. The strain map ensures that the structure is not loaded excessively to adversely affect its service life. The developed theoretical model is validated experimentally using a prototype of a variable cambered span morphing structure provided with a network of distributed sensors. The structure/sensor network system is tested under various static conditions to determine the response characteristics of the proposed sensor network as compared to other conventional sensor systems. The presented theoretical and experimental techniques can have a great impact on the safe deployment and effective operation of a wide variety of morphing and inflatable structures such as morphing aircraft, solar sails, inflatable wings, and large antennas.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 April 2008
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6932, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2008, 69321X (8 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.776433
Show Author Affiliations
J. Smoker, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
A. Baz, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6932:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2008
Masayoshi Tomizuka, Editor(s)

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