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Detecting Damage and Damage Location on Large Composite Parts using RFID Technology

Probabilistic methods are used in calculating composite part design factors for, and are intended to conservatively compensate for worst case impact to composite parts used on space and aerospace vehicles. The current method to investigate impact damage of composite parts is visual based upon observation of an indentation. A more reliable and accurate determinant of impact damage is to measure impact energy. RF impact sensors can be used to gather data to establish an impact damage benchmark for deterministic design criteria that will reduce material applied to composite parts to compensate for uncertainties resulting from observed impact damage. Once the benchmark has been established, RF impact sensors will be applied to composite parts throughout their life-cycle to alert and identify the location of impact damage that exceeds the maximum established benchmark for impact. This paper will describe and illustrate how weight and manufacturing costs can be reduced by eliminating uncertainties associated with impact damage to composite parts for aerospace vehicles. Therefore, composite design structures can perform their intended function with the desired confidence at lower weight and cost.

George Bullen

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