Fiber optic strain sensing opens new possibilities to detect Barely Visible Impact Damage (BVID) on aircrafts’ composite components.
Research & paper from Sidney Goossens, presented at the Aerospace Europe Conference 2020
Due to their higher stiffness-to-mass ratio, the demand and use of composite materials in aerospace applications are strongly increasing. Although they offer a state-of-the-art alternative to metallic materials, they are prone to impact damage. BVID can be tiny but can also grow, for example when a heavy load is applied on the component.
Until now dealing with BVID meant long downtimes needed for thorough checking or thicker components implying a higher fuel consumption. Structural health monitoring based on fiber optic strain sensing brings an end to both issues.
How does BVID detection with fiber optic strain sensing work?
The fiber is bonded with a pre-strain to the composite. The registered strain displays the normal state of the composite. When an impact happens, the fiber registers it through the new strain distribution on the composite component.
Not only do engineers find out that there is an impact, they also know precisely where it is located. With adequate protection and proper bonding for aerospace environment, fiber optic strain sensing could become an efficient tool for in-between flight analysis.
All about fiber optic strain sensing used for aerospace composite components here.