Portable Accumulated Fatigue Damage Inspection System Using Permanently Mounted and Wide-Area Imaging MWM-Arrays

Period of Performance: 05/19/2000 - 05/19/2002

$748K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Jentek Sensors, Inc.
110-1 Clematis Avenue Array
Waltham, MA 02453
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

With life extension programs, components designed to last the life of aircraft must now be replaced or managed by damage tolerance methods. Even on relatively new aircraft, unanticipated fatigue critical locations are identified. For those components, permanently mounted sensors offer viable alternatives to fleet-wide replacement or frequent and costly inspections that often require disassembly and surface preparation. Thin, conformable, surface mountable MWM eddy current sensors will provide the Air Force with (1) on-aircraft, low-cost, noninvasive inspection capability for difficult-to-access locations, and (2) a tool to determine number of cycles to crack initiation, Ni, measure crack propagation in coupon and full-scale component/aircraft fatigue tests, and support evaluation of crack initiation mechanisms. Phase I demonstrated capability to detect microcracks smaller than 0.002 inches deep during coupon fatigue tests. Continuing efforts are focused on detecting smaller microcracks and monitoring accumulated fatigue damage. Phase II will demonstrate capability on an F-15, C-130, C-141 or C-5 component, demonstrate use of data from permanently mounted sensors in a damage tolerance methodology, and deliver a JENKTEK GridStation for fatigue test monitoring using permanently mounted and scanning MWMs. JENTEK will launch commercial products during the next year to meet significant demand for capabilities already demonstrated.