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SBIR/STTR

Flexible multifunctional Structural Health Monitoring systems, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Composite materials are being used in an increasing number of NASA?s space habitat structures because they are lightweight but very strong. The materials can enhance the operation and performance of the structures, they can also introduce significant inspection challenges that push the limits of traditional nondestructive evaluation (NDE) in terms of time and cost. Using built-in sensors for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) can help overcome inspection difficulties, and can also enable real-time monitoring from cradle-to-grave. Currently however, there are no long duration flexible hybrid multifunctional sensors that can be conformably distributed over very large flexible surfaces and thereby enable their availability of instantaneous information on the structural integrity of expandable space habitats made of composites or other hybrid materials, and measure environmental conditions for optimum performance while adding minimal weight. This program will therefore focus on development, maturation, assembly and automation of Flexible multifunctional Structural Health Monitoring systems? on non-traditional conformal, bendable, and stretchable substrates for use in space. The program will enable the low-cost manufacturing of large area sensors that can be integrated into large flexible substrates for space habitat. Phase I will focus on demonstrating the feasibility of the approach using a space habitat material. More »

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