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Aerospace 2018, 5(3), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace5030087

Cost-Effectiveness of Structural Health Monitoring in Fuselage Maintenance of the Civil Aviation Industry

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, P.O. Box 116250, Gainesville, FL 32611-6250, USA
A part of this paper has been published at AIAA/SciTech conference: Ting Dong and Nam H. Kim. Reviews of structural health monitoring technologies in airplane fuselage maintenance perspective. In Proceedings of the AIAA Nondeterministic Conference, Kissimmee, FL, USA, 8–12 January 2018.
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Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 21 July 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 13 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Civil and Military Airworthiness: Recent Developments and Challenges)
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Abstract

Although structural health monitoring (SHM) technologies using sensors have dramatically been developed recently, their capability should be evaluated from the perspective of the maintenance industry. As a first step toward utilizing sensors, the objective of the paper is to investigate the possibility of using sensors for inspecting the entire fuselage during C-check. First, we reviewed various sensors for their detection range, detectable damage size, and installed weight, which revealed that the piezoelectric wafer active sensor (PWAS) is the most promising sensor for aircraft SHM. Second, we performed a case study of inspecting the fuselage of Boeing-737NG using PWAS. To maintain the same detecting capability of manual inspection in C-check, we estimated the total number of sensors required. It turned out that utilizing sensors can reduce the maintenance downtime and thus, maintenance cost. However, even with a very conservative estimate, the lifetime cost was significantly increased due to the weight of sensor systems. The cost due to the weight increase was an order of magnitude higher than the cost saved by using SHM. We found that a large number of sensors were required to detect damage at unknown locations, which was the main cause of the weight increase. We concluded that to make SHM cost-effective, it would be necessary either to improve the current sensor technologies so that a less number of sensors are used or to modify the aircraft design concept for SHM. View Full-Text
Keywords: structural health monitoring; condition-based maintenance; scheduled maintenance; cost-benefit analysis; sensors; payload structural health monitoring; condition-based maintenance; scheduled maintenance; cost-benefit analysis; sensors; payload
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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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Dong, T.; Kim, N.H. Cost-Effectiveness of Structural Health Monitoring in Fuselage Maintenance of the Civil Aviation Industry . Aerospace 2018, 5, 87.

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