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NDT.net Issue - 2019-03 - Articles
NDT.net Issue: 2019-03
Publication: 10th International Symposium on NDT in Aerospace, Oct 2018, Dresden, Germany (AeroNDT 2018)
Session: Structural Health Monitoring
ARTICLE

Monitoring of structures and systems of aircraft by highly non-linear sensing devices

Helge Pfeiffer128, Sevilia Sunetchiieva15, Hans Sekler24, Daniel Backe3, Martine Wevers154
1aDepartment of Materials Engineering bDept. of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM); Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) 105, Leuven, Belgium
2Customer Engineering; Lufthansa Technik AG9, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
3Customer Engineering; PFW Aerospace GmbH, Speyer, Germany

Abstract: Sensing systems, especially when used for interrogating the structural integrity of aircraft in traditional inspections, are frequently working in a quasi-linear mode. This approach however creates difficulties in some cases, especially when applications for structural health monitoring (SHM) are concerned. One of the major problems are base-line deviations interfering with damage-related signals that are in some cases moreover complicated due to interferences at complex aircraft structures creating major obstacles for a broad-scale implementation of SHM in aircraft. Advanced data processing and dedicated high-end hardware components are certainly capable of tackling part of these problems, but additional hardware requirements require extra power supply, together with advanced data transmission and processing facilities, also additional maintenance needs emerge. In some cases, an interesting alternative is offered by highly non-linear sensing devices. They produce a sharp sensor response that ideally only depends on a certain damage-related outer parameter representing in this way a material-based threshold. Moreover, this sharp sensor response ideally ranges over many orders of magnitude above the baseline variations and in this manner, an ideal tool would be established to finally enormously increase the probability of detection, at least within the range of damage to detect. After a short review on examples taken from the literature, that are in some cases successfully applied in operations, new developments are presented, such as water leakage sensors based on the percolation effect, dedicated optical sensors for reliably detecting damage in hydraulic pipes as well as defects in bleed air ducts. Most of them are able to cover bigger surfaces and are, when appropriate, also partially equipped with dedicated facilities for reliable damage localisation. Finally, a couple of examples are given that were already implemented in operational airliners, such as devices for the detection of corrosive liquids in aircraft (Boeing 737-500, Boeing 747-400).


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