Methods for prognostics and reliability in composite materials using structural health monitoring

The increasing use of composite materials in lightweight structures like aircraft or spacecraft structures, drastically increases their susceptibility to fatigue damage during their service life. Fatigue damage in composite materials is wellknown to be hard to detect and difficult to predict mainly due to uncertainty that comes not only from modeling and measurement errors, but also from the lack of knowledge about the underlying physics of the damage process. This uncertainty can increase dramatically when dealing with full-scale composite structures in real environments, hence it becomes usually a critical issue for reliability and competitiveness of composite structures. Within this scenario, a prognostics system that is capable of assessing the structural integrity and predicting the remaining serviceability of critical components is of key importance for making composites competitive.

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