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  1. Abstract

    Impacts in fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composites can severely inhibit their functionality and prematurely lead to the composite’s failure. This research focuses on determining the efficacy of a novel capacitive sensor, termed as the soft elastomeric capacitor (SEC), to monitor the magnitude of out-of-plane deformations in composites. This work forwards the development of a sensing skin that can be used as anin situmonitoring tool for composites. The capacitive sensor can be made to arbitrary sizes and geometries. The sensor is composed of an elastomer composite that measures strains experienced by the material it is bonded to. The structure of the sensor, fabricated to function as a parallel plate capacitor, responds to impacts by transducing strains into a measurable change in capacitance. In this work, the SECs are deployed on randomly oriented fiberglass-reinforced plates with a polyester resin matrix. The material is impacted at various energy levels until the monitored composite material reaches its yielding point. The behavior of the sensor in impact detection applications below the proof resilience shows little to no change in the capacitance of the sensor. As the impacts surpass this yielding point, the sensor responds linearly with induced change in the area. The sensor performed within the expectations of the proposed model and demonstrated the efficacy of the proposed large-area sensor as a damage quantification tool in the structural health monitoring of composites.

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  2. Abstract

    Fatigue-induced cracking in steel components and other brittle materials of civil structures is one of the primary mechanisms of degrading structural integrity and can lead to sudden failures. However, these cracks are often difficult to detect during visual inspections, and off-the-shelf sensing technologies can generally only be used to monitor already identified cracks because of their spatial localization. A solution is to leverage advances in large area electronics to cover large surfaces with skin-type sensors. Here, the authors propose an elastic and stretchable multifunctional skin sensor that combines optical and capacitive sensing properties. The multifunctional sensor consists of a soft stretchable structural color film sandwiched between transparent carbon nanotube electrodes to form a parallel plate capacitor. The resulting device exhibits a reversible and repeatable structural color change from light blue to deep blue with an angle-independent property, as well as a measurable change in capacitance, under external mechanical strain. The optical function is passive and engineered to visually assist in localizing fatigue cracks, and the electrical function is added to send timely warnings to infrastructure operators. The performance of the device is characterized in a free-standing configuration and further extended to a fatigue crack monitoring application. A correlation coefficient-based image processing method is developed to quantify the strain measured by the optical color response. Results show that the sensor performs well in detecting and quantifying fatigue cracks using both the color and capacitive signals. In particular, the color signal can be measured with inexpensive cameras, and the electrical signal yields good linearity, resolution, and accuracy. Tests conducted on two steel specimens demonstrate a minimum detectable crack length of 0.84 mm.

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  3. Abstract Structural health monitoring (SHM) is the automation of the condition assessment process of an engineered system. When applied to geometrically large components or structures, such as those found in civil and aerospace infrastructure and systems, a critical challenge is in designing the sensing solution that could yield actionable information. This is a difficult task to conduct cost-effectively, because of the large surfaces under consideration and the localized nature of typical defects and damages. There have been significant research efforts in empowering conventional measurement technologies for applications to SHM in order to improve performance of the condition assessment process. Yet, the field implementation of these SHM solutions is still in its infancy, attributable to various economic and technical challenges. The objective of this Roadmap publication is to discuss modern measurement technologies that were developed for SHM purposes, along with their associated challenges and opportunities, and to provide a path to research and development efforts that could yield impactful field applications. The Roadmap is organized into four sections: distributed embedded sensing systems, distributed surface sensing systems, multifunctional materials, and remote sensing. Recognizing that many measurement technologies may overlap between sections, we define distributed sensing solutions as those that involve or imply the utilization of numbers of sensors geometrically organized within (embedded) or over (surface) the monitored component or system. Multi-functional materials are sensing solutions that combine multiple capabilities, for example those also serving structural functions. Remote sensing are solutions that are contactless, for example cell phones, drones, and satellites. It also includes the notion of remotely controlled robots. 
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  5. Han, Jae-Hung ; Shahab, Shima ; Yang, Jinkyu (Ed.)
    Hard real-time time-series forecasting of temporal signals has applications in the field of structural health monitoring and control. Particularly for structures experiencing high-rate dynamics, examples of such structures include hypersonic vehicles and space infrastructure. This work reports on the development of a coupled softwarehardware algorithm for deterministic and low-latency online time-series forecasting of structural vibrations that is capable of learning over nonstationary events and adjusting its forecasted signal following an event. The proposed algorithm uses an ensemble of multi-layer perceptrons trained offline on experimental and simulated data relevant to the structure. A dynamic attention layer is then used to selectively scale the outputs of the individual models to obtain a unified forecasted signal over the considered prediction horizon. The scalar values of the dynamic attention layer are continuously updated by quantifying the error between the signal’s measured value and its previously predicted value. Deterministic timing of the proposed algorithm is achieved through its deployment on a field programmable gate array. The performance of the proposed algorithm is validated on experimental data taken on a test structure. Results demonstrate that a total system latency of 25.76 µs can be achieved on a Kintex-7 70T FPGA with sufficient accuracy for the considered system. 
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  6. null (Ed.)