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Structural Health Monitoring of Elastomeric Composites using Mechanoluminescence



Lightweighting of automotive and aerospace structures is achieved by eliminating parts of components without a structural or functional role. Towards lightweighting, fibercontaining resin-based composites (CRFP, GFRP, etc.,) and compliant structures are replacing metals, and complicated kinematic assemblies. The design of load-bearing structural elements made from composites with thin cross-sections and compliant mechanisms present significant challenges for CAD/CAE and require sophisticated experimental methods for validation. There is a need for the development of novel methods and techniques for (a) characterization of ageing, (b) crack propagation and (c) real time determination of the onset of failure in a polymer composites andmultimaterial hybrid motion transfer component. We present mechanoluminescent additives, and the resulting composites – mechanoluminescent composites as structural sensors for design optimization, structural health monitoring and multi-material joining. This paper presents a summary of our results over the past four years, and discusses the following - (i) optimization of the volume fraction of ML (ZnS:Cu, Mn) phosphors for intense ML, (ii) correlation of stress vs luminance of ML particles in an epoxy matrix, and (iii) demonstration of the onset of failure in a composite from light output in a mechanoluminescent polymer composite.


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