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Wireless Crack Propagation Embeddable Sensor

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2004 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Invocon, Inc.
TX Conroe, TX 77385-8746
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2004
Title: Wireless Crack Propagation Embeddable Sensor
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA8650-04-M-5011
Award Amount: $99,917.00


In the recent past, the use of composite materials in aircraft has increased. While composite materials offer many benefits, they are not perfect materials. Micro-cracking can occur in the cooling process of laminate construction. These cracks can spread and new cracks can even form during temperature cycling. Monitoring crack propagation in key locations can increase the safety and reliability of aircraft while reducing the cost to maintain them. An embeddable, remotely powered, miniature, wireless system is what is required. There are two types of crack propagation measurement currently on the market - parallel resistance, and continuity gages. While INVOCON has developed a multitude of miniature wireless systems based on technologies similar to the parallel resistance and continuity gages, there is another approach. It is possible to measure the length of a crack propagation gage using reflected Radio Frequency (RF) energy. This technology can be used to follow two-dimensional or even three-dimensional crack propagation. This method, while more difficult to produce for a Phase I demonstration, provides a simpler path to the Phase II embeddable solution. In addition, the technique can be extended to measure laminate strain with the same sensor, making a much more commercially viable system.

Principal Investigator:

Brian Roberson
Design Engineer

Business Contact:

Mary Pate
Vice President/General Counsel
Small Business Information at Submission:

19221 IH-45 South; Ste. 530 Conroe, TX 77385

EIN/Tax ID: 760315372
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No