In a retired jet at Sandia, Dennis Roach and Ciji Nelson prepare Structure Health Monitoring (SHM) Sensors.
The Comparative Vacuum Monitoring sensor is a self-adhesive rubber patch, ranging from dime-to credit-card- sized. The rubber's underside is laser-etched with rows of tiny, interconnected channels or galleries to which an air pressure is applied. Any propagating crack in the materials under the sensor breaches the galleries and the resulting change in pressure is monitored. The sensors are made by Structure Monitoring Systems, Inc. (SMS) of Australia, are inexpensive, reliable, durable, and easy to apply. They provide equal or better sensitivity than is achievable with conventional inspection methods. Besides aircraft, SHM techniques could monitor the structural well-being of spacecraft, weapons, rail cars, bridges, oil recovery equipment, buildings, armored vehicles, ships, wind turbines, nuclear power plants, and fuel tanks in hydrogen vehicles.
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June 8, 2014