Optical Fiber Sensor News & Analyses
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December 21, 2010
Aerospace Structural Health Monitoring using Fibre Laser Acoustic Emission
Smart Fibres is participating in the MACH project investigating the use of a fibre laser AE sytem for the Monitoring of Aircraft Component Health.

The objectives of the project are to develop a fibre optic based acoustic emission system suitable for deployment in an in-service aircraft environment and to demonstrate the capabilities of the system on components representative of actual aircraft structure.  This builds on the initial multi-channel fibre laser system developed and demonstrated in the HealthMaP programme.

The outputs from this MACH project will be a hardware/software package, which provides a stable and reliable acoustic emission system using fibre lasers as the sensing devices.  This will include a demonstration of the system on a suitable test opportunity.

Fibre laser sensors offer the potential for composite structures with embedded structural health monitoring.  For aluminium aircraft visual inspection is used to monitor damage, but this is not possible for composite structures where, for example, delamination can occur without any indication of damage on the surface.  This technique using fibre laser sensors can also be applied to wind turbine blades.  This project will move the technology to TRL5 for aircraft structures and TRL7 for wind turbine blades.

The MACH project is being led by Qinetiq (http://www.qinetiq.com/) and is part funded by SEEDA, (South East England Development Agency, http://www.seeda.co.uk/).

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