Submitted by: Nickolas Anderson
Division: Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences
The focus of my current research project is to prototype a flexible, all-printed, real-time airframe monitoring system (ARAMS) which is done in collaboration with and sponsored by NextGen Aeronautics Inc. Currently, aircraft components are monitored via the number of logged flight hours and visual inspection, which can lead to premature removal of expensive components or in-flight failure. Our prototype sensor array (pictured here) attempts to address. It is designed to provide large-area, low-cost, quantitative analysis of the structural health of critical aircraft components subjected to intense strain and fatigue. This sensor array consists of the passive components of the R&D prototype, including 64 carbon-based strain gauges, their electrical leads, connections for 192 discrete transistors for multiplexing, and connections for the data acquisition system. These electrical components were screen printed onto the flexible polyimide substrate in the Nanotechnology Core Facility at UIC using conductive, resistive and dielectric inks. Future research will address replacing the discrete transistors with all-printed transistors.