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Special Issue "Integrated Structural Health Monitoring in Polymeric Composites"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jandro L. Abot

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: experimental stress mechanics; polymeric composite materials; carbon nanotube fibers; integrated and distributed structural health monitoring in composite materials; piezoresistive sensors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymeric laminated composites are widely used in aerospace and several other high performance applications due to their superior specific stiffness and strength, as well as their manufacturing tailorability. However, these materials may be prone to experience inner damage that is difficult to detect from the surface and, thus, lead to premature failure. Many nondestructive evaluation and structural health monitoring techniques are available to inspect and ensure the reliability of composite structures, but most of them are expensive and labor intensive. Furthermore, they require the structural component or vehicle be taken out of operation for inspection. Integrated sensing in composite materials may provide advantages, since the sensors would be able to provide information about the structure without the need for complex external equipment. In addition, miniaturized integrated sensors should be able to detect microscale damage or incipient failure. Among the sensing material candidates are carbon-nanostructured materials, activable nanoparticles and polymers, and others. Integrated and miniaturized sensing may lead to a revolution of the maintenance of composite structures, which could be instead based on the condition of the structure and not its amount of use. This Special Issue focuses on papers that present novel concepts of miniaturized and integrated sensing in laminated composite materials including some preliminary experimental results that show the feasibility of the proposed concept. The sensing approaches may include piezoresistive, piezoelectric, capacitive, optical, thermal, magnetic effects, or others.

Prof. Dr. Jandro L. Abot
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • polymeric composites
  • structural health monitoring
  • mechanical sensors
  • damage detection
  • integrated sensors
  • nanostructured sensors

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle A Spray-On Carbon Nanotube Artificial Neuron Strain Sensor for Composite Structural Health Monitoring
Sensors 2016, 16(8), 1171; doi:10.3390/s16081171
Received: 25 February 2016 / Revised: 21 July 2016 / Accepted: 22 July 2016 / Published: 26 July 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5376 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We present a nanocomposite strain sensor (NCSS) to develop a novel structural health monitoring (SHM) sensor that can be easily installed in a composite structure. An NCSS made of a multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT)/epoxy composite was installed on a target structure with facile
[...] Read more.
We present a nanocomposite strain sensor (NCSS) to develop a novel structural health monitoring (SHM) sensor that can be easily installed in a composite structure. An NCSS made of a multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT)/epoxy composite was installed on a target structure with facile processing. We attempted to evaluate the NCSS sensing characteristics and benchmark compared to those of a conventional foil strain gauge. The response of the NCSS was fairly good and the result was nearly identical to the strain gauge. A neuron, which is a biomimetic long continuous NCSS, was also developed, and its vibration response was investigated for structural damage detection of a composite cantilever. The vibration response for damage detection was measured by tracking the first natural frequency, which demonstrated good result that matched the finite element (FE) analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Structural Health Monitoring in Polymeric Composites)
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Open AccessArticle RTM Production Monitoring of the A380 Hinge Arm Droop Nose Mechanism: A Multi-Sensor Approach
Sensors 2016, 16(6), 866; doi:10.3390/s16060866
Received: 2 March 2016 / Revised: 27 May 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 14 June 2016
PDF Full-text (8549 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This research presents a case study of production monitoring on an aerospace composite component: the hinge arm of the droop nose mechanism on the Airbus A380 wing leading edge. A sensor network composed of Fibre Bragg Gratings, capacitive sensors for cure monitoring and
[...] Read more.
This research presents a case study of production monitoring on an aerospace composite component: the hinge arm of the droop nose mechanism on the Airbus A380 wing leading edge. A sensor network composed of Fibre Bragg Gratings, capacitive sensors for cure monitoring and thermocouples was embedded in its fibre reinforced lay-up and measurements were acquired throughout its Resin Transfer Moulding production process. Two main challenges had to be overcome: first, the integration of the sensor lines in the existing Resin Transfer Moulding mould without modifying it; second, the demoulding of the component without damaging the sensor lines. The proposed embedding solution has proved successful. The wavelength shifts of the Fibre Bragg Gratings were observed from the initial production stages, over the resin injection, the complete curing of the resin and the cooling-down prior to demoulding. The sensors proved to be sensitive to detecting the resin flow front, vacuum and pressure increase into the mould and the temperature increase caused by the resin curing. Measurements were also acquired during the post-curing cycle. Residual strains during all steps of the process were derived from the sensors’ wavelength shift, showing values up to 0.2% in compression. Moreover, the capacitive sensors were able to follow-up the curing degree during the production process. The sensors proved able to detect the resin flow front, whereas thermocouples could not measure an appreciable increase of temperature due to the fact that the resin had the same temperature as the mould. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Structural Health Monitoring in Polymeric Composites)
Open AccessArticle Monitoring Pre-Stressed Composites Using Optical Fibre Sensors
Sensors 2016, 16(6), 777; doi:10.3390/s16060777
Received: 19 March 2016 / Revised: 19 May 2016 / Accepted: 20 May 2016 / Published: 28 May 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6860 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Residual stresses in fibre reinforced composites can give rise to a number of undesired effects such as loss of dimensional stability and premature fracture. Hence, there is significant merit in developing processing techniques to mitigate the development of residual stresses. However, tracking and
[...] Read more.
Residual stresses in fibre reinforced composites can give rise to a number of undesired effects such as loss of dimensional stability and premature fracture. Hence, there is significant merit in developing processing techniques to mitigate the development of residual stresses. However, tracking and quantifying the development of these fabrication-induced stresses in real-time using conventional non-destructive techniques is not straightforward. This article reports on the design and evaluation of a technique for manufacturing pre-stressed composite panels from unidirectional E-glass/epoxy prepregs. Here, the magnitude of the applied pre-stress was monitored using an integrated load-cell. The pre-stressing rig was based on a flat-bed design which enabled autoclave-based processing. A method was developed to end-tab the laminated prepregs prior to pre-stressing. The development of process-induced residual strain was monitored in-situ using embedded optical fibre sensors. Surface-mounted electrical resistance strain gauges were used to measure the strain when the composite was unloaded from the pre-stressing rig at room temperature. Four pre-stress levels were applied prior to processing the laminated preforms in an autoclave. The results showed that the application of a pre-stress of 108 MPa to a unidirectional [0]16 E-glass/913 epoxy preform, reduced the residual strain in the composite from −600 µε (conventional processing without pre-stress) to approximately zero. A good correlation was observed between the data obtained from the surface-mounted electrical resistance strain gauge and the embedded optical fibre sensors. In addition to “neutralising” the residual stresses, superior axial orientation of the reinforcement can be obtained from pre-stressed composites. A subsequent publication will highlight the consequences of pres-stressing on fibre alignment, the tensile, flexural, compressive and fatigue performance of unidirectional E-glass composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Structural Health Monitoring in Polymeric Composites)
Open AccessArticle Self-Sensing Composites: In-Situ Detection of Fibre Fracture
Sensors 2016, 16(5), 615; doi:10.3390/s16050615
Received: 17 February 2016 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 28 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (12063 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The primary load-bearing component in a composite material is the reinforcing fibres. This paper reports on a technique to study the fracture of individual reinforcing fibres or filaments in real-time. Custom-made small-diameter optical fibres with a diameter of 12 (±2) micrometres were used
[...] Read more.
The primary load-bearing component in a composite material is the reinforcing fibres. This paper reports on a technique to study the fracture of individual reinforcing fibres or filaments in real-time. Custom-made small-diameter optical fibres with a diameter of 12 (±2) micrometres were used to detect the fracture of individual filaments during tensile loading of unreinforced bundles and composites. The unimpregnated bundles were end-tabbed and tensile tested to failure. A simple technique based on resin-infusion was developed to manufacture composites with a negligible void content. In both cases, optical fibre connectors were attached to the ends of the small-diameter optical fibre bundles to enable light to be coupled into the bundle via one end whilst the opposite end was photographed using a high-speed camera. The feasibility of detecting the fracture of each of the filaments in the bundle and composite was demonstrated. The in-situ damage detection technique was also applied to E-glass bundles and composites; this will be reported in a subsequent publication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Structural Health Monitoring in Polymeric Composites)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Voltage Measurement on the Quantitative Identification of Transverse Cracks by Electrical Measurements
Sensors 2016, 16(4), 427; doi:10.3390/s16040427
Received: 16 January 2016 / Revised: 16 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
PDF Full-text (2659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Electrical tomography can be used as a structural health monitoring technique to identify different damage mechanisms in composite laminates. Previous work has established the link between transverse cracking density and mesoscale conductivity of the ply. Through the mesoscale relationship, the conductivity obtained from
[...] Read more.
Electrical tomography can be used as a structural health monitoring technique to identify different damage mechanisms in composite laminates. Previous work has established the link between transverse cracking density and mesoscale conductivity of the ply. Through the mesoscale relationship, the conductivity obtained from electrical tomography can be used as a measure of the transverse cracking density. Interpretation of this measure will be accurate provided the assumptions made during homogenization are valid. One main assumption of mesoscale homogenization is that the electric field is in the plane. Here, we test the validity of this assumption for laminates with varying anisotropy ratios and for different distances between the cracked ply and surface that is instrumented with electrodes. We also show the equivalence in electrical response between measurements from cracked laminates and their equivalent mesoscale counterparts. Finally, we propose some general guidelines on the measurement strategy for maximizing the accuracy of transverse cracks identification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Structural Health Monitoring in Polymeric Composites)
Open AccessArticle Self-Sensing of Damage Progression in Unidirectional Multiscale Hierarchical Composites Subjected to Cyclic Tensile Loading
Sensors 2016, 16(3), 400; doi:10.3390/s16030400
Received: 25 February 2016 / Revised: 12 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4608 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The electrical sensitivity of glass fiber/multiwall carbon nanotube/vinyl ester hierarchical composites containing a tailored electrically-percolated network to self-sense accumulation of structural damage when subjected to cyclic tensile loading-unloading is investigated. The hierarchical composites were designed to contain two architectures differentiated by the location
[...] Read more.
The electrical sensitivity of glass fiber/multiwall carbon nanotube/vinyl ester hierarchical composites containing a tailored electrically-percolated network to self-sense accumulation of structural damage when subjected to cyclic tensile loading-unloading is investigated. The hierarchical composites were designed to contain two architectures differentiated by the location of the multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), viz. MWCNTs deposited on the fibers and MWCNTs dispersed within the matrix. The changes in electrical resistance of the hierarchical composites are associated to their structural damage and correlated to acoustic emissions. The results show that such tailored hierarchical composites are able to self-sense damage onset and accumulation upon tensile loading-unloading cycles by means of their electrical response, and that the electrical response depends on the MWCNT location. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Structural Health Monitoring in Polymeric Composites)
Figures

Open AccessArticle An Improved Gaussian Mixture Model for Damage Propagation Monitoring of an Aircraft Wing Spar under Changing Structural Boundary Conditions
Sensors 2016, 16(3), 291; doi:10.3390/s16030291
Received: 25 November 2015 / Revised: 5 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 26 February 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (4925 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) technology is considered to be a key technology to reduce the maintenance cost and meanwhile ensure the operational safety of aircraft structures. It has gradually developed from theoretic and fundamental research to real-world engineering applications in recent decades. The
[...] Read more.
Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) technology is considered to be a key technology to reduce the maintenance cost and meanwhile ensure the operational safety of aircraft structures. It has gradually developed from theoretic and fundamental research to real-world engineering applications in recent decades. The problem of reliable damage monitoring under time-varying conditions is a main issue for the aerospace engineering applications of SHM technology. Among the existing SHM methods, Guided Wave (GW) and piezoelectric sensor-based SHM technique is a promising method due to its high damage sensitivity and long monitoring range. Nevertheless the reliability problem should be addressed. Several methods including environmental parameter compensation, baseline signal dependency reduction and data normalization, have been well studied but limitations remain. This paper proposes a damage propagation monitoring method based on an improved Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM). It can be used on-line without any structural mechanical model and a priori knowledge of damage and time-varying conditions. With this method, a baseline GMM is constructed first based on the GW features obtained under time-varying conditions when the structure under monitoring is in the healthy state. When a new GW feature is obtained during the on-line damage monitoring process, the GMM can be updated by an adaptive migration mechanism including dynamic learning and Gaussian components split-merge. The mixture probability distribution structure of the GMM and the number of Gaussian components can be optimized adaptively. Then an on-line GMM can be obtained. Finally, a best match based Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence is studied to measure the migration degree between the baseline GMM and the on-line GMM to reveal the weak cumulative changes of the damage propagation mixed in the time-varying influence. A wing spar of an aircraft is used to validate the proposed method. The results indicate that the crack propagation under changing structural boundary conditions can be monitored reliably. The method is not limited by the properties of the structure, and thus it is feasible to be applied to composite structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Structural Health Monitoring in Polymeric Composites)
Open AccessArticle Characterization of Degradation Progressive in Composite Laminates Subjected to Thermal Fatigue and Moisture Diffusion by Lamb Waves
Sensors 2016, 16(2), 260; doi:10.3390/s16020260
Received: 29 November 2015 / Revised: 15 February 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2016 / Published: 19 February 2016
PDF Full-text (3252 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Laminate composites which are widely used in the aeronautical industry, are usually subjected to frequency variation of environmental temperature and excessive humidity in the in-service environment. The thermal fatigue and moisture absorption in composites may induce material degradation. There is a demand to
[...] Read more.
Laminate composites which are widely used in the aeronautical industry, are usually subjected to frequency variation of environmental temperature and excessive humidity in the in-service environment. The thermal fatigue and moisture absorption in composites may induce material degradation. There is a demand to investigate the coupling damages mechanism and characterize the degradation evolution of composite laminates for the particular application. In this paper, the degradation evolution in unidirectional carbon/epoxy composite laminates subjected to thermal fatigue and moisture absorption is characterized by Lamb waves. The decrease rate of Lamb wave velocity is used to track the degradation evolution in the specimens. The results show that there are two stages for the progressive degradation of composites under the coupling effect of thermal cyclic loading and moisture diffusion. The present work provides an alternative to monitoring the degradation evolution of in-service aircraft composite Laminates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Structural Health Monitoring in Polymeric Composites)

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