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Sensors 2018, 18(7), 2218; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18072218

Impact Monitoring for Aircraft Smart Composite Skins Based on a Lightweight Sensor Network and Characteristic Digital Sequences

1
Research Center of Structural Health Monitoring and Prognosis, State Key Lab of Mechanics and Control of Mechanical Structures, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China
2
State Key Lab of Digital Manufacturing Equipment and Technology, School of Mechanical Science and Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 7 July 2018 / Accepted: 7 July 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Sensors and Smart Structures)

Abstract

Due to the growing use of composite materials in aircraft structures, Aircraft Smart Composite Skins (ASCSs) which have the capability of impact monitoring for large-scale composite structures need to be developed. However, the impact of an aircraft composite structure is a random transient event that needs to be monitored on-line continuously. Therefore, the sensor network of an ASCS and the corresponding impact monitoring system which needs to be installed on the aircraft as an on-board device must meet the requirements of light weight, low power consumption and high reliability. To achieve this point, an Impact Region Monitor (IRM) based on piezoelectric sensors and guided wave has been proposed and developed. It converts the impact response signals output from piezoelectric sensors into Characteristic Digital Sequences (CDSs), and then uses a simple but efficient impact region localization algorithm to achieve impact monitoring with light weight and low power consumption. However, due to the large number of sensors of ASCS, the realization of lightweight sensor network is still a key problem to realize an applicable ASCS for on-line and continuous impact monitoring. In this paper, three kinds of lightweight piezoelectric sensor networks including continuous series sensor network, continuous parallel sensor network and continuous heterogeneous sensor network are proposed. They can greatly reduce the lead wires of the piezoelectric sensors of ASCS and they can also greatly reduce the monitoring channels of the IRM. Furthermore, the impact region localization methods, which are based on the CDSs and the lightweight sensor networks, are proposed as well so that the lightweight sensor networks can be applied to on-line and continuous impact monitoring of ASCS with a large number of piezoelectric sensors. The lightweight piezoelectric sensor networks and the corresponding impact region localization methods are validated on the composite wing box of an unmanned aerial vehicle. The accuracy rate of impact region localization is higher than 92%. View Full-Text
Keywords: aircraft smart skin; composite structure; impact monitoring; lightweight sensor network; characteristic digital sequence aircraft smart skin; composite structure; impact monitoring; lightweight sensor network; characteristic digital sequence
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Qiu, L.; Deng, X.; Yuan, S.; Huang, Y.; Ren, Y. Impact Monitoring for Aircraft Smart Composite Skins Based on a Lightweight Sensor Network and Characteristic Digital Sequences. Sensors 2018, 18, 2218.

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