Wireless Strain Sensing as NDT Method for Plastic Composites
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The rapid increase in the use of plastics composites mainly in primary structures has brought with it the challenge of ensuring the damage inspection in a fast and precise way. Traditional NDT methods are not adequate for the complexity and anisotropy of composite materials. New and improved NDT methods are a necessity. A strain sensing technique to be applied on the non-destructive evaluation of fiber reinforced plastic composites have been designed and developed. The system is based on a combination involving WSN technology and the conventional resistance strain gauges sensors, which detect surface strains on the components. The experimental results demonstrated that this technique is capable of collecting strain information of the composites under service and conditions where the components are subjected to bending strains and under harsh environments, such as during contact with seawater. The setup is an inexpensive technology that is easy and practical to install even in the most difficult production sites since it is a wireless based system. The long duration tests showed that this battery powered based system has the ability to collect strain data for a long period of time allowing saving energy. The strain sensing system developed here has several practical applications in strain and stress measurements in the structural monitoring and quality assurance of virtually every sector of industry in which plastic composites are related. Due to the positive results obtained in this study, further research on this field should be encouraged. Additional research on the reliability of this wireless strain sensing system in different environments (e.g temperature, humidity) and loading conditions are crucial for the deployment of this technology into different applications and composite industries.