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Start date: Apr 1, 2014, End date: Mar 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Safe operation of structures requires rapid and early detection of structural degradation. A potential approach is to monitor structural degradation in real-time, including damage/facture due to unforeseen circumstances, by deploying sensors and efficient/effective wireless mesh networks throughout the structure. This proposal addresses the development of suitable combinations of sensors to monitor damage and their prediction during an aerospace structural component’s service life. Diagnostic and prognostic algorithms will determine the damage evolution (initiation/propagation) and damage type (i.e., delamination). The research will also focus on the development of models to predict failure evolution using FEM-based progressive failure analysis that considers the effect of defects and uncertainties not anticipated during design stage. This would cover in-service accidental damage, tracking of repairs and monitoring of sensor changes reported during transmission. Flexible, low-cost, easy-to install solutions for autonomous ad-hoc monitoring will be assessed. This project will to determine the feasibility of coordination of data from heterogeneous sensors, with special focus on improving the wireless transmission of data. The aim is to determine and validate the type, number and arrangement of sensors needed to characterize a given structural damage scenario. This project will cover five key topics: 1) Assess and design the architecture of a smart and flexible wireless sensor network for multiple sensors with on-board processing, 2) Design and fabricate prototype sensor modules for selected candidate sensors. The process board will be designed for all sensors so that only one board is necessary with each sensor interfacing the wireless chip, a micro controller and a memory chip, 3) Basic sensor module hardware firmware will be written, 4) Architect the flexible wireless protocol stack and write the Windows drivers and 5) Test, debug and demonstrate the system.

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