Non-Invasive Communications with Embedded Sensors in Composites

Period of Performance: 07/14/1994 - 02/17/1995


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Production Products MFG & Sales, Inc.
1285 Dunn Road
St. Louis, MO 63138
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Production products will develop a non-invasive communication/sensor system for monitoring structural health real-time using embedded sensors in composite structures. We will use advanced composite structure, joining and sensor technology from our mentor/protege partner on this program, McDonnell Douglas Corp. (MDC). We will focus on cylindrical members which form the basic building block elements for many composite structures. We will focus on our low cost fillament winding technology and develop a hybrid composite fabrication and sensor embedment system for small diameter tubes. We will explore the use of micro electronic mechanical systems, laser holographic techniques, fiber optics and other sensors which would permit non-invasive communication. We will develop optimum methods of sensor embedment and communication including strain/vibration/shock/load measurement and flaw growth. In Phase I we will perform a feability analysis; explore alternate sensors, composite tubular structural concepts/manufacturing processes and sensor communication scenarios; develop non-invasive communication methodology; fabricate a demonstration componnet; provide cost and performance projections; and document all Phase I activities in a final report. In Phase II we will fianlize the detail embedded sensor and composite structure final design, fabricate samll diameter composite tubes with bendded sensors, evaluate the sensors to perform their desired function and prepare a Phase II final report. The use of ARPA Technology from the MDC/ARPA Embedded Sensors in Submarine Structures progra will significantly reduce the risk and cost of this program. Anticipated Benefits: Production Products will develop a non-invasive communications/sensor system for monitoring structural health real time using embedded sensors in polymer matrix composite structures. The system and manufacturing methods developed for making small to medium diameter tubes will have broad applicability to a broad range of DOD applications as well as signficant commercial potential, including application to composite and concrete civil structures.