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Quantitative Detection of Low Energy Impact Damage in a Sandwich Composite UAV Wing

[+] Author Affiliations
Engin Aktas, Mark Seaver, Jonathan M. Nichols, Stephen T. Trickey

Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC

Paper No. SMASIS2008-327, pp. 13-19; 7 pages
  • ASME 2008 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, Volume 2
  • Ellicott City, Maryland, USA, October 28–30, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4332-1 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3839-6


This work describes damage detection efforts applied to a foam core composite wing following a series of low energy impacts in adjacent locations. The wing is a sandwich composite, composed of 4 layers of woven carbon fiber fabric surrounding a short aluminum core in the center (where it’s connected to the fuselage) and a foam core for the outer portions of the wing. The wing measures 1320 mm. × 152.4 mm. × 13.4 mm and has an airfoil cross-section. Thirteen impacts (6 – 8 J deposited energy) were applied at adjacent locations approximately 1/3 of the way out from the center. Following one or two impacts, the wing was tested using static tip deflection and dynamic vibrational excitation. Static and dynamic strains were measured using 8 fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors. Dynamic acceleration was also monitored using 3 conventional accelerometers. Dynamic excitation included the output of a Lorenz oscillator (0 – ∼150 Hz), simulated gust loading (0 – 150 Hz), and Gaussian white noise (0 – 1500 Hz). The analysis is a quantitative assessment of response nonlinearity based on the assumption that the undamaged wing behaves linearly and that the damage introduces nonlinearity into the vibrational response.



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