In-situ structural health monitoring, diagnostics, and prognostics system utilizing smart active sensors with embedded intelligence and wireless installation


Reference #:  00284

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for this technology

Invention Description:

This invention provides an in-situ sensor system for structural material non-destructive evaluation (NDE).  This in-situ structural health monitoring, diagnostics, and prognostics system utilizes unobtrusive arrays of smart active sensors with embedded intelligence.  These sensors, called Piezoelectric Wafer Active Sensors (PWAS), use wireless communication technology for remote supervision, health monitoring, and damage detection while examining a structural environment. 

Additionally, these sensors provide data to lightweight analyzers and the data is then compared to a database of past structural characteristics to determine potential flaws in the structure. An automatic signal collection unit (ASCU) is used in conjunction with the (PWAS) for embedded ultrasonic structural radar (EUSR) monitoring, and Electromechanical (E/M) impedance structural health monitoring.

Problem Solved:

Structural health monitoring (SHM) is important for reducing maintenance costs while also increasing safety and reliability.  These maintenance and replacement costs continue to rise due to abundance of aging structures with outdated and reactive maintenance philosophies. The subject invention would be diagnostic and preventative in nature.

Potential Applications:

The major potential industrial application of the invention is the detection of structural flaws during structural health monitoring using modal analysis and ultrasonic non-destructive evaluation techniques as it can be applied to both metallic and composite structures.  The method can be applied to thin-wall structures with either planar or curved surfaces.  The main applications would be in structural health monitoring, damage detection and failure prevention of critical structures with thin wall construction.  Targeted applications include aircraft fleets, critical pressure vessels, oil tanks and pipelines. 

Advantages and Benefits:

                System is lightweight and portable and can be hand carried to the test subject.

                Cost is less than what is currently available.

                Test both in active and passive modes (pitch and catch signals) using phase-array technology to extrapolate the data for reproduction of testing analysis.

                Scan curved surfaces and cover large structural areas.

Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
In-stu structural health monitoring, diagnostics, and prognostics system utilizing thin piezoelectric sensors Utility United States 10/072,644 7,024,315 2/8/2002 4/4/2006 2/8/2022  
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Victor Giurgiutiu
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