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Piezoelectric sensor for structure monitoring

elastic wavesimpedanceintelligent integrated systemspiezoelectric sensorsignal correlation

Introduction

The invention refers to a methodology for monitoring the structural integrity of metal laminates or composites based on elastic waves. It aims to develop smart structures capable of performing structural integrity test by theirselves through these integrated systems.

Technical features

Nowadays, there are many systems for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). Some of these use a network of sensors that detect anomalies in structures through elastic wave diagnostics. For thin composite material structures (aeronautical and aerospace applications), the monitoring by elastic waves is limited by the physical aspects related to the material (anisotropy, lower mechanical energy of the waves). For this reason, monitoring systems are generally bulky, heavy and require a high consumption of power and maintenance costs.

The invention seeks to overcome these limitations by proposing a piezoelectric sensor which comprises a piezoelectric material between two electrical contact elements. At least one of these contacts has two separate detection areas that allow information on the direction of wave propagation to be extracted, thus simplifying information processing. Furthermore, compared to those available on the market, this sensor has reduced dimensions and weight, low power consumption and high reliability of the diagnostic method.

Possible Applications

  • Automotive;
  • Aerospace;
  • Naval;
  • Oil&Gas industry.

Advantages

  • Continuity of structural integrity monitoring;
  • Lower cabling complexity;
  • Reduced inspection time;
  • Reduced installation, operating and maintenance costs;
  • Improvement of the safety standards of the structures.