A Lightweight structural health monitoring system (SHeMS)

Lead Participant: The Welding Institute

Abstract

SHeMS is a collaborative project developing a lightweight structural health monitoring system for aircraft. Through the development and application of energy harvesting, acoustic emission, and acousto-ultrasonic techniques the project will develop a prototype system that is capable of determining the structural integrity of critical aircraft component. The system will comprise of a network of independent acoustic devices that are self-sustaining and communicate by wireless technology. The SHeMS project is an opportunity to make a major leap forward in reliability and safety in the aerospace industry by offering continuous inspection coverage for aircraft both on the ground and in flight. Existing Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) techniques, while effective, rely on taking an aircraft out of service. This downtime is expensive and means that there are large time periods between inspections. The continuous coverage offered by the SHeMS system will enable the identification of delamination, fibre breakage, corrosion, fatigue, and impact damage faults at an earlier stage and will therefore reduce the length of downtime and facilitate more effective maintenance schedules.

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