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Integrated PZT sensors for Structural Health Monitoring of metals and composite structures

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000237672D
Publication Date: 2014-Jul-02
Document File: 7 page(s) / 724K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Mudit Rastogi: INVENTOR [+2]

Abstract

Structural health monitoring (SHM) technology has provided a solution to the problem of monitoring the integrity of structural components made of metals and composites for applications in aerospace, civil infrastructure, automotive, defense, space etc. For structural health monitoring, piezoelectric sensors (which are often PZT - Lead Zirconate Titanate sensors) are used to generate Ultrasonic Guided Waves (UGW), which can detect structural defects. Installation of PZT sensors on metals and composite structures leads to many performance issues both on part of the sensors and the structures that sensors are monitoring. This paper presents a technology for integration of PZT sensors with metals and composite structures thus improving the process of structural health monitoring. Also presented are the design of sensor strips that can be used for this integration and the technique for manufacturing these sensor strips. Multiple advantages are discussed for the integrated sensor strips and their applications in aerospace and non-aerospace industries.

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 Integrated PZT sensors for Structural Health Monitoring of metals and composite structures

Mudit Rastogi, Jindrich Finda

ABSTRACT

Structural health monitoring (SHM) technology has provided a solution to the problem of monitoring the integrity of structural components made of metals and composites for applications in aerospace, civil infrastructure, automotive, defense, space etc. For structural health monitoring, piezoelectric sensors (which are often PZT - Lead Zirconate Titanate sensors) are used to generate Ultrasonic Guided Waves (UGW), which can detect structural defects. Installation of PZT sensors on metals and composite structures leads to many performance issues both on part of the sensors and the structures that sensors are monitoring. This paper presents a technology for integration of PZT sensors with metals and composite structures thus improving the process of structural health monitoring. Also presented are the design of sensor strips that can be used for this integration and the technique for manufacturing these sensor strips. Multiple advantages are discussed for the integrated sensor strips and their applications in aerospace and non-aerospace industries.


1. INTRODUCTION

Structural health monitoring (SHM) has emerged as a vital technology for improving safety and maintainability of critical structures and has found applications across aerospace, defense, energy, space, civil infrastructure and automotive industries to name a few. It has brought a new realm of Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) that enables instantaneous maintenance triggers when health of the monitored system degrades below a predefined level. SHM can detect damages on metals or composite structures including cracks, corrosion, delaminating, debonding, etc. It uses small, inexpensive, non-invasive piezoelectric wafers, often made up of Lead Zirconate


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Titanate (PZT), permanently installed on a monitored structure in order to generate ultrasonic guided waves (UGW). These ultrasonic guided waves (some UGW are also known as Lamb waves) are propagated along the metal or composite structure for detecting defects.

To integrate PZT sensors into metal and composite structures, Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC) sensor strips are currently in use. These FPC sensor strips are often made of "Kapton" and are commercially available as "Smart Layers". But installation of these sensors on metals or embedding them into composites suffers from multiple technical and commercial limitations. These "Smart Layers" are of a limited length, so multiple strips have to be connected together with wires and connectors in order to cover larger structural parts which in turn, make them heavy, costly and cumbersome. Also they are plagued by reduced performance owing to dampening of signals and have shorter operational lives due to their exposure to harsh surrounding environment and poor adhesive properties with metals. When embedded into composites, they result in red...