Health Monitoring of Composite Structures Using Carbon Nanotubes

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Acellent Technologies, Inc.
835 Stewart Drive, Sunnyvale, CA, -
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Shyan Shen
Project Manager
(408) 745-1188
Business Contact:
Vindhya Narayanan
VP Business
(408) 745-1188
Research Institution:
University of Delaware
Erik T Thostenson
202 Comp. Manufactur Sci. Lab
Center for Composite Materials
Newark, DE, 19716-
(302) 831-8789
Nonprofit college or university
ABSTRACT: Acellent Technologies and University of Delaware jointly propose to develop an integrated system of carbon nanotubes (CNT) and piezoelectric sensors for structural health monitoring (SHM) of composite structures. The proposed integrated hybrid SHM system will detect the initiation of damage and monitor its growth in composite structures. This system will combine the unique sensing capabilities of CNT and piezoelectric sensors. Both piezoelectric sensors and distributed electrodes for CNT sensors will be built-into one pre-networked, pre-positioned layer called the SMART layer. The distributed electrodes on the SMART Layer will be utilized to measure the conductivity of the CNT network inside the polymer matrix, at various locations across the composite structure. Microcracks in the structure will be determined by the change in electrical conductivity of the CNT sensor network. The piezoelectric sensor network on the SMART Layer will be utilized to detect and quantify the localized cracks and delamination. In phase I, the team successfully demonstrated the feasibility of both the CNT and the piezoelectric SHM system for damage detection on composite coupons. In phase II, the team will refine the software systems and perform hardware integration to develop a hybrid SHM system with user-friendly interface for damage detection in composite structures. BENEFIT: Anticipated Benefits: The innovation of the proposed system has many advantages: 1) Increased safety, reliability and robust in-situ health monitoring (early warning system) 2) Complete damage information V both qualitative and quantitative characterization 3) Reduced inspections and reduced vehicle downtime 4) Maximized lifespan of structures residual life estimate by prognosis. Potential Commercial Applications: The technology and system that will be developed in Phase II will serve the interest of not only the aerospace industry but other industries as well that use composite materials including the automotive, shipping, railway and wind turbine manufacturing industries. Automobile bodies, offshore structures, wind turbine blades and railway coach components are prone to frequent mechanical wear and tear due to the environmental, transportational and operational effects under which they need to function. This technology will completely revolutionize the way in which structural diagnosis is performed in these industries and provide a state-of-the-art solution for maintenance and support. This technology will prove very useful for the different industries listed above and serve the needs for maintenance and support for all future generation aircrafts and different composite structures. The developmental results from the current project will be channeled in the coming years to customized products required by the government and industrial companies.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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