A joint work related to the AeroSense project has been accepted for publication in NDT and E International.
Ultra-wideband guided electromagnetic waves have been proposed recently for non-destructive testing and structural health monitoring applications. However, many possibilities are still unexplored given by the multitude of possible microwave waveguides. The present work introduces the concept of microwave leakage monitoring to detect stringer debondings in hollow carbon composite structures. The principle is to monitor the wave propagation characteristics within the cavity formed by the stringer and the airframe skin using transmission measurements. Changes in the transmission path, e.g. occurring from microwave leakage in the debonded region, can be assessed through a damage indicator approach.
To proof this concept, an experimental campaign was carried out according to the building block approach typically used in aeronautics. First, a small-scale specimen with a debonded stringer was investigated in the laboratory. Then, a large-scale fuselage structure was used for technology demonstration enabling stringer debonding with increasing severity through static and fatigue loading. The paper shows that the microwave characteristics in the waveguide (stringer tunnel) is affected by the debonding conditions according to its severity and depth. This allows designing a structural health monitoring system based on guided electromagnetic waves trapped in the tunnel.
Memmolo, V.; Moll, J.; Moix Bonet, M.; Schmidt, D. & Krozer, V. Ultra-wideband microwave leakage monitoring for stringer debonding detectionin carbon composite fuselage structures, NDT & E International, 2023 (accepted in December 2023)