Smart composite solution for real-time NDT and predictive maintenance
If a composite material can be defined as a combination of two or more
distinct materials to attain new properties that can not be achieved by those of
individual components acting alone", then it is only natural that production
errors and material flaws will occur, as in every other manufacturing process.
These composite material flaws can have a butterfly effect on the whole
structure, which not only can bring tragic outcomes in the safety-critical
applications but can also damage the economic health of the composite
manufacturer and subsequently assembly companies.
To list the examples – common types of damages occurring in carbon composites include
debonding, delamination, matrix failure, crazing, broken fibers. Manufacturing
of anomaly detection methods are often inherent in composites, naturally, the
introduction of composites into large scale production directly depends on the
successful application of non-destructive testing (NDT).
Even though some of the current NDT methods are better in certain
environments than the others, so far there isn’t introduced any “golden
mean” technology, whether using the coin tapping, vibration analysis,
thermography, optical, ultrasound, radiography methods or eddy current
testing – various limitations occur – limited accuracy, limited
penetration depth, composite surface accessibility, methods being cost-intensive
or time-consuming, limited use in a dusty industrial environment, need of a
vibration-free environment or being unable to determine damage severity, etc. In
general – only a few of them allow real-time measurements.
For any sector professional, it’s no secret that we are living in a world
where many composite-based structures are serving beyond the lifetime they were
designed for and they are likely to remain in service for even longer. Many
composite structures are in need of immediate attention. Their repair,
maintenance, or replacement will cost millions of dollars, however, it still
needs to take place.
We at RVmagnetics believe – that the composite industry
needs to take a new road and develop smart self-monitored composites that can
provide significant added value on top of the traditional NDT methods. How?
RVmagnetics developed MicroWires – miniaturized,
magnetic, contactless microsensors of physical quantities (sensing temperature,
pressure, and magnetic field directly and pull, axial stress, mechanical stress,
torsion, bending, vibration, etc. indirectly).
The MicroWires are composite materials themselves, they consist of metallic
nucleus and glass coating. MicroWire is a passive, unpowered element. To
“power” it – enable sensing and obtain real-time live data – a set of
coils (powered, active element) and electronics are placed within the range of
10cm and allow contactless sensing. Without causing any material flows, or
adding almost no additional weight MicroWires can be easily introduced into
composites such as carbon fiber composites, glass fiber, ceramic composites,
plastic composites, etc.
They can simply be embedded between composite layers in the production
process which, naturally gives you control over:
each part of the production process (e.g. measure temperature locally not
only on the surface but also in between the layers)
random inspections and defect detections
real-time live data about the current state of the composite (up to ten
thousand times per second resolution) through the lifetime the composite
Solution provides a real opportunity to create self-monitored composites that
reduce the likelihood of material failure, optimizes the production process to
manage composite properties minimizing material and production costs,
accelerating processes (composite decking, bonding, etc.) without
risking cracks or other failures. In a nutshell – increasing quality level
while decreasing material waste.
Combining AI with live data brings the opportunity to increase safety
drastically, provide data on remaining useful lifetime (RUL) for the structure. The
financial gain lays in reducing the frequency of maintenance tasks, transforming
the preventive and reactive maintenance into predictive maintenance. Simply, a maintenance timetable can
be created on the go.
While current structural health monitoring methods are valuable in detecting
and preventing potential damages in the production process or post-production we strive for safety,
real-time measurements and industry transformation towards digital. MicroWire
sensing technology provides a gateway to real-time data from places that have
been impossible to access thus far.
We’re ready to partner up with like-minded companies, visionaries and
R&D professionals. Are you the one?