M. Williams, M. Lewis, T. Gibson, J. Lane, C. Ihlefeld
National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration,
Keywords: sensor, damage detection, flexible circuitry, spacecraft, space debris, inftatable, expandable
Summary:Martha K, Williams, Ph.D., Mark E. Lewis, Tracy L. Gibson, Ph.D., John E. Lane, Ph.D. and Curtis M. Ihlefeld The damage detection sensory system is an intelligent damage detection “skin” that can be embedded into rigid or flexible structures, providing a lightweight capability for in-situ health monitoring for such applications as spacecraft, expandable or inflatable structures, extravehicular activities (EVA) suits, smart wearables, and other applications where prognostic impact damage monitoring might be critical. The use of flexible printed circuitry or rigid circuitry in sensor systems can be customized for detecting location, damage size, and depth, and velocity options. The system can be designed for particular environments for monitoring of impact or for detecting physical damage to an architecture. The operation of the sensor detection system is currently based on the use of parallel conductive traces placed on a firm or flexible surface making up the sensory panel’s system. Several detection layers can be implemented, where alternate layers are arranged in orthogonal direction with respect to the adjacent layers. The orthogonal arrangement allows for pinpointing the exact location of the damage or space debris impact if implemented in a space environment. Multiple detection layers will allow for the calculation of the depth of the impact damage. Design options also include spacing options of the detection layers, graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and wireless communication for in-situ monitoring of the sensor system. Patents issued for this NASA technology innovation provides avenues for technology transfer and commercialization. The integration of non-rigid flexible printed components or circuitry to provide increased flexibility of the damage detection sensor system designs will also be introduced.