Coordinated sensing and autonomous repair of pressure vessels and structures

TitleCoordinated sensing and autonomous repair of pressure vessels and structures
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2010
AuthorsHuston, DR, Hurley, DA, Gollins, K, Gervais, A
Conference NameSensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2010
Pagination76471J - 76471J-9
Conference LocationSan Diego, CA, USA

Self-repairing structural systems can potentially improve performance ranges and lifetimes compared to those of conventional systems without self-healing capability. Self-healing materials have been used in automotive and aeronautical applications for over a century. The bulk of these systems operate by using the damage to directly initiate the repair response without any supervisory coordination. Integrating sensing and supervisory control technologies with self-healing may improve the safety and reliability of critical components and structures. This project used laboratory scale test beds to illustrate the benefit of an integrated sensing, control and self-healing system. A thermal healing polymer embedded with resistive heating wires acted as the sensing-healing material. Sensing duties were performed using an impedance, capacitance, and resistance testing device and a PC acted as the controller. As damage occurs to the polymer it is detected, located, and characterized. Based on the sensor signal, a decision is made as to whether to execute a repair and then to subsequently monitor the repair process to ensure completeness. The second demonstration was a self-sealing pressure vessel with integrated sensing and healing capability. These proof-of-concept prototypes can likely be expanded and improved with alternative sensor options, sensing-healing materials, and system architecture.

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