Structural Health Monitoring, the MORPHO approach

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) technologies for damage detection, diagnosis, and prognosis in aerospace structures are recognized as a key solution to increase aviation safety and to simultaneously decrease operating, maintenance, and repair costs.

SHM enables a novel maintenance approach based on the actual condition of the airframe, mitigating operating costs induced by scheduled inspections. The research conducted within the project aims to change time-based maintenance for condition-based maintenance.

Structural health monitoring (SHM) uses nondestructive inspection principles and built-in sensors and actuators that automatically and remotely assess an aircraft’s structural condition in real-time and signal the need for maintenance.

Detecting and characterizing damage in composite structures is very challenging because the damage caused by an impact may not be visible or barely visible. MORPHO outcomes will contribute to the deployment of an automated probabilistic SHM-data-driven system that can autonomously assess and predict during operation the health of hybrid material (metal and composite) structures. This SHM system will rely on an innovative fabrication process that will allow the integration of SHM dedicated sensors within the smart structures from their early manufacturing (optical fiber Bragg gratings, printed piezoelectric sensors). Qualifying the use of embedded sensors for the assessment of the life cycle of these hybrid structures is another MORPHO outcomes.

The different activities that the partners are carrying out will prove that the sensors, working in a particular application, are reliable and cost-effective to use for routine airplane maintenance.

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