29 July 2004 Performance of smart piezoelectric transducers for structural health monitoring on composite laminates in cryogenic environments
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An important way of increasing the payload in a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) is to replace heavy metallic materials by lightweight composite laminates. Engineers and scientists have studied many metallic materials thoroughly, due to the long history of practical usage in many aerospace and aeronautical structures. Compared to metallic materials, composite laminates are a relatively new material and therefore require more attention to ensure the safety and reliability. Among various parts and systems of the RLV, this study focuses on tanks containing cryogenic fuel. Historically, aluminum alloys have been used as the materials to construct fuel tanks for launch vehicles. To replace aluminum alloys with composite laminates or honeycomb materials, engineers have to make sure that the composites are free of defects before, during, and after launch. In addition to robust design and manufacturing procedures, the performance of the composite structures needs to be evaluated constantly. In recent years, the impedance-based health monitoring technique has shown its promise in many applications. This technique makes use of the special properties of smart piezoelectric materials to identify the change of material properties due to the nucleation and progression of damage. A major advantage of this technique is that the procedure is nondestructive in nature and does not perturb the properties and performance of the materials and structures. This paper reports the results of applying the impedance-based nondestructive testing technique to the damage identification of composite laminates at cryogenic temperature. These materials have potential application for fuel tanks in future RLV’s.
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Kevin K. Tseng, Kevin K. Tseng, Michael L. Tinker, Michael L. Tinker, John O. Lassiter, John O. Lassiter, Liangsheng Wang, Liangsheng Wang, "Performance of smart piezoelectric transducers for structural health monitoring on composite laminates in cryogenic environments", Proc. SPIE 5391, Smart Structures and Materials 2004: Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems, (29 July 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.543578; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.543578

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