Sunnyvale, CA, United States
Sunnyvale, CA, United States

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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.36K | Year: 2014

Current Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) systems can be used for composite damage monitoring. However, current systems lack the ability to accurately detect, locate and characterize damage for complex composite structures with local property variation. Acellent Technologies Inc. has therefore proposed to develop reliable and consistent damage diagnostics and characterization techniques for U.S. Navy composite rotorcraft structures operating under harsh aviation environments. These techniques will be integrated into Acellents SHM systems to provide A Model-assisted Damage Diagnostics and Characterization(MoDDiaC) through a wireless-sensor network based Structural Health Monitoring System for Composite Rotorcraft Applications. The proposed system will be designed for optimum performance with minimum number of sensors. The program is supported by Sikorsky Aircraft Company (SAC) for future implementation on the CH-53K aircraft. In Phase I, Acellent successfully completed the tasks leading towards the development of a complete SHM system with composite damage characterization. In Phase II, Acellent will continue to develop and refine the MoDDiaC system to leverage the overall concept developed in Phase I into a complete system-level prototype that is suitable for field use by the U.S. Navy.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.92K | Year: 2014

Acellent Technologies is developing a system for the US Navy that incorporates innovative ways to detect and track corrosion, measure clamping force and bolt preload in bolted joints typical of aircraft structures. Many of the corrosion inspection methods currently employed in the field to inspect magnesium housings involve disassembling the components and performing a visual inspection. Apart from being time-consuming, labor intensive, cumbersome and unreliable these inspections often lead to damage of the protective coating covering the surface during disassembly. Acellent Technologies is developing an accurate, reliable integrated health monitoring system capable of detecting, locating and sizing regions of corrosion in the area being monitored. The ultimate objective of the program will be to provide the U.S. Navy with a portable Corrosion Monitoring System (CMS) capable of efficiently monitoring regions of interest for degradation, thus mitigating the hazards associated with failure of critical aircraft components. Phase I demonstrated that the capability for detection of clamping force and bolt preload using a Hybridized SMART Layer. Phase II will focus on complete system development, testing and validation in collaboration with Sikorsky Aircraft Company and the U.S. Navy.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT:In the past several years, Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) has emerged from the research environment into initial applications in a wide variety of fields. Before SHM systems can be implemented in an operational environment, there is a need for new methods and procedures to compensate for uncertainty in SHM systems arising from a variety of reasons, including component geometry, loading and boundary condition changes, aging effects etc. In this program Acellent proposes to develop an innovative Multi-Physics-Based Intelligence Sensing System for Fatigue and Fastener Crack Detection in Multi-Layer structures to address the uncertainities for detection. The goal will be to accurately detect, locate and characterize fatigue cracks as well as corner cracks originating from fastener holes in multi-layer structures. Phase I will focus on defining the overall SHM framework and developing methodologies to compensate for variability in an operational environment. The methods used will be practical for real-world applications and be applicable for robust operation of the SHM system in austere flight/field environments with limited maintenance and low false call rates. The program will be supported by Boeing for future implementation on aircraft structures in concurrence with the U.S. Air Force Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) requirements.BENEFIT:The largest and nearest-term impact areas for the technology are inaccessible areas in todays aircraft. Economic factors drive the need to keep these vehicles in-service for longer periods of time, often well beyond their designed service life. As these structures age, there is an increasing need for inspection to ensure public safety, ensure combat readiness and schedule maintenance effectively. The high cost of owning and operating these systems provides incentives for enhancing the means of evaluating and monitoring their structural integrity. The big challenge to this industry is that it must maintain a high standard of safety with its fleet in an economic environment with cost-effectiveness that is intensely competitive. With the growing number of older aircraft in service, the business case for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) retrofit applications is increasingly gaining more and more momentum. Retrofit applications focused on monitoring age-related degradation parameters like fatigue, corrosion and delamination are a key target of SHM. The target SHM technology is lightweight, easy to install and simple to use. The emphasis is not only on the development of further new SHM technologies, but also on testing the SHM systems robustness in representative environments to mature future service applications. The proposed system could potentially lead to significant savings in maintenance costs for aircraft (30-90% depending on application), can enhance the reliability of the structures and improve their efficiency, safety, and readiness. The proposed innovative, integrated inspection system, can efficiently and economically manage structural inspection data for the fleets of aging U.S. Air Force aircraft. The proposed work will be conducted in close collaboration with companies such as Boeing to ensure that this work will be directly beneficial to them.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2013

Advanced composite materials, increasingly adopted for airframe structures, are susceptible to barely visible impact damage, which has the potential to lead to a catastrophic failure if not accurately monitored. Structural health monitoring (SHM) based on acousto-ultrasound method has emerged as a promising technique for monitoring the onset and progress of structural damage. Acousto-ultrasound based SHM system employs generation and propagation of stress waves through attached piezoelectric transducers giving necessary information for monitoring the health of the structure. However, these techniques are generally suitable for simple structures without any local property /thickness variations. In this SBIR program, Acellent proposes to develop an innovative model-assisted SHM system that is capable of detecting, locating and characterizing type of damage on composite rotocraft structures. The proposed system learns sensitive signal features through a physics based wave propagation simulations and utilizes the knowledge to optimize sensor network for the given structure, and integrates offline learning with the current sensor data to accurately locate the damage even for complex structure with local property/thickness variation. Prototypes of the proposed model-assisted SHM system will be developed and demonstrated under representative loading and environmental conditions. Functionality of the proposed system will be tested thouroughly for different damage types.


Patent
Acellent Technologies, Inc. | Date: 2013-10-25

Placement of structural health monitoring sensors within a coupled bearing assembly. An exemplary structural health monitoring system comprises first and second bearings configured for rotatable positioning along a structure, and a spacer positioned between the first and second bearings. The first and second bearings are placed against opposing sides of the spacer, and have a preload force engaging the respective first and second bearings against the opposing sides of the spacer. A plurality of sensors are coupled to the spacer so as to be positioned between the spacer and at least one of the first and second bearings, the sensors further coupled to at least one of the first and second bearings so as to be configured to monitor a structural health of the at least one of the first and second bearings.


Patent
Acellent Technologies, Inc. | Date: 2013-10-25

A structural health monitoring system capable of maintaining electrical contact with sensors affixed to a rotating structure. One such structural health monitoring system comprises a rotatable structure, a plurality of sensors each affixed to the rotatable structure, and an interface. The interface has an inner housing and an outer housing, and maintains a plurality of individual electrical connections, each of the individual electrical connections being an electrical connection between one of the sensors and an electrical contact maintained on the outer housing, the electrical connections configured to be maintained during rotation of the structure. The inner housing is affixed to the structure and the outer housing is rotationally coupled to the inner housing, so that the inner housing is free to rotate with respect to the outer housing during rotation of the structure and the sensors, while maintaining the electrical connections.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2015

Composite and metallic airframe structures are susceptible to different damage types. Fatigue cracks are the major damage concerns for metallic airframe structures where as impact induced delamination and debond are major concerns for composite airframe structures. However, once damage is initiated, it can grow extremely fast and can lead to catastrophic failure of the structure. Hence, it is very important to develop Health Conscious Structures (HCS) using advanced Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) systems that are capable of detecting damage precursors at an earlier stage than currently possible as well as reliable prognostic tools to accurately predict the remaining useful life (RUL) of the structure. Acellent technologies in collaboration with the University of South Carolina and Bell Helicopters proposes to develop a novel and advanced multi-sensor based SHM system that will detect damage precursors, monitor damage progression and accurately predict the remaining useful life of the structure in near real-time. The proposed approach will be applicable for both metal and composite structures. The proposed system will be tested and demonstrated with metallic coupons in Phase-I of this project whereas composite coupons will be tested as part of Phase-II of this project.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.96K | Year: 2016

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.


Patent
Acellent Technologies, Inc. | Date: 2014-04-10

Methods and apparatuses for monitoring a first structure at least partially according to properties of a second structure. One such method comprises determining a first relationship between a first variable and a second variable, wherein the first variable represents sizes of actual damage to the second structure, and the second variable represents sizes of simulated damage on the second structure; determining a second relationship between a third variable and a fourth variable, wherein the third variable represents sizes of simulated damage on the first structure, and the fourth variable represents values of a damage index determined for the simulated damage on the first structure; and determining an estimate of damage to the first structure according to the first and second relationships.


Patent
Acellent Technologies, Inc. | Date: 2015-06-03

A structural health monitoring apparatus is presented. According to an embodiment, the structural health monitoring apparatus comprises: a plurality of transducers configured for coupling to a structure, the structure comprising an outer structure surrounding and coupled to an inner structure, the transducers further configured for coupling to only the outer structure so as to transmit stress waves through the inner structure, and still further configured to receive the transmitted stress waves from the outer structure after they have passed through the inner structure; and an analyzer configured to detect damage within the inner structure according to the received transmitted stress waves from the outer structure.

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