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13 November 2002 Finite element modeling to determine thermal residual strain distribution of bonded composite repairs for structural health monitoring design
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The economic implication of fleet upgrades, particularly in Australia with military aircraft such as the F-111 and F/A-18, has led to an increasing reliance on composite repair technology to address fatigue and corrosion-affected aircraft components. The increasing use of such repairs has led to a research effort to develop various in-situ health monitoring systems that may be incorporated with a repair. This paper reports on the development of a theoretical methodology that uses finite element analysis (FEA) to model the strain profiles which optical sensors, on or within the patch, will be exposed to under various operational scenarios, including load and disbond. Numerical techniques are then used to predict the fibre Bragg grating (FBG) reflections which occur with these strain profiles. The quality of these reflection are a key consideration when designing FBG based structural health monitoring (SHM) systems. This information can be used to optimise the location of both surface mounted, and embedded sensors, and determine feasibility of SHM system design. Research was conducted into the thermal residual strain (TRS) within the patch. A finite element study revealed the presence of significant thermal residual strain gradients along the surface of the tapered region of the patch. As Bragg gratings are particularly sensitive to strain gradients, (producing a result similar to a chirped grating) the strain gradient on the composite at potential sensor locations both under load, and in the event of disbond was considered. A sufficiently high gradient leads to an altered Bragg reflection. These spurious reflections need to be considered, and theoretically obtained reflections can provide information to allow for load scenarios where the Bragg shift is not a smooth, well defined peak. It can also be shown that embedded fibres offer a higher average thermal residual strain reading, while being subject to a much lower strain gradient. This particularly favors the optical disbond detection system that is being developed. While certification concerns exist with embedding sensors in repairs, this study shows that embedded optical fibre sensors may provide for a health monitoring system with enhanced reliability and sensitivity.
© (2002) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Wayne Baker, Rhys Jones, Claire Davis, and Stephen C. Galea "Finite element modeling to determine thermal residual strain distribution of bonded composite repairs for structural health monitoring design", Proc. SPIE 4934, Smart Materials II, (13 November 2002);

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