MEMS-Augmented Structural Sensor (MASSpatch) for wireless health monitoring

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
Award Id:
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
6960 Firerock Court, Boulder, CO, 80301
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Robert Owen
Principal scientist
(303) 530-1579
Business Contact:
Brian Sperry
Chief Financial Officer
(303) 514-1056
Research Institution:
Daniel J Inman
310 Durham Hall, Mail Code 0261
Blacksburg, VA, 24061
(540) 231-4709
Nonprofit college or university
This STTR project develops self-powered PZT sensor/actuators, MEMS temperature sensors and data transmitters, chip-sized mechanical impedance analyzers, and data processing procedures and integrates them into a self-contained structural health-monitoringpackage for wireless inspection of aerospace-weapons systems.The opportunity:Legacy system maintenance, the development of relatively disposable aircraft, and other pre- and post-9/11 factors are accelerating demands for structural health monitoring (SHM) to improve the reliability of aerospace-weapons systems. Improved diagnosticsare needed for new construction, smart materials, aging infrastructures, and catastrophes. Current SHM sensors require power and data wiring; they do not interface readily with existing systems.Objectives:The objective is to develop, demonstrate and validate self-contained slap-on MASSpatch sensors that support and improve structural reliability for a wide range of existing aerospace-weapon systems.Research description and tasks:1) develop adaptable, reliable and robust sensors; 2) develop an inexpensive chip-sized impedance analyzer; 3) develop data integration procedures that fuse information from hundreds of sensors into a few key parameters; 4) incorporate piezoelectric-basedpower harvesting; and 5) wirelessly integrate these hardware and software elements into a complete, self-contained SHM system. Impedance-based SHM correlates reliably with damage; demonstrating these elements on a representative Air Force structural systemillustrates MASSpatch effectiveness and shows feasibility. Anticipated Air Force benefitsThe future of the Air Force focuses along two lines: o Maintaining legacy (aging) systems longer; and o Developing new, relatively disposable systems (unmanned air vehicles, single use systems).In both cases, the keys to successful operation are knowledge of overall current system health and the ability to predict future system health under projected operational conditions. MASSpatch provides the SHM data needed to extract and develop knowledgeof both current and future system health.Potential commercial applicationsCommercial applications are starkly clear. Structural health monitoring is an emerging industry driven by an aging infrastructure, malicious humans, and the introduction of advanced materials. Applications include smart structures and SHM of aircraft,dams, bridges, and oil and gas facilities. Early commercialization focuses on state and Federal agencies that include the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense. Non-government customers include oil and gascompanies, owner/operators of fire-fighting slurry bombers, dam and bridge owners, and other crucial-structure custodians.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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