A Multifunctional Aerospace Smart Skin Emerges from Computational Models and Physical Experiments

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The capability to assess the current or future state of the health of an aircraft to improve safety, availability, and reliability while reducing maintenance costs has been a continuous goal for decades. Many companies, government agencies, and academic institutions have become interested in Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) and a growing effort of research into “smart” vehicle sensing systems has emerged. Methods to detect damage to aircraft materials and structures have historically relied on visual inspection during pre-flight or post-flight operations by flight and ground crews. More quantitative non-destructive investigations with various instruments and sensors have traditionally been performed when the aircraft is out of operational service during major scheduled maintenance. Through the use of reliable sensors coupled with data monitoring, data mining, and data analysis techniques, the health state of a vehicle can be detected in-situ.
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