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Establishing the Reliability of SHM Systems Through the Extrapolation of NDI Probability of Detection Principles



Extensive Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) studies have highlighted the ability of various sensors to detect common flaws found in composite and metal structures with sensitivities that meet or exceed current damage detection requirements. Reliable SHM systems can automatically process data, assess structural condition, and signal the need for human intervention. While ad-hoc efforts to introduce SHM into routine aircraft maintenance practices are valuable in leading the way for more widespread SHM use, there is a significant need for formal SHM certification efforts to exercise and define the process of producing routine use of SHM solutions. SHM certification must address the full spectrum of issues ranging from design to performance and deployment to continued airworthiness. Currently, there are no guidelines for SHM system designers or agreed-upon procedures for quantifying the performance of SHM systems. The FAA Airworthiness Assurance Center (AANC) at Sandia Labs, in conjunction with Boeing, Delta Air Lines, Structural Monitoring Systems and Anodyne Electronic Manufacturing, is conducting a study to develop and carry out a certification process for SHM. By conducting a focused assessment of a particular aircraft application, all aspects of SHM integration are being addressed. While it is important to recognize the unique validation and verification tasks that arise from distinct differences between SHM and nondestructive inspection (NDI) deployment and flaw detection, it should be recognized that some portions of the methodology needed to determine NDI performance can be adapted to the validation of SHM systems. In this study, statistical methods were applied to laboratory and flight test data to derive Probability of Detection (POD) values for SHM sensors in a fashion that agrees with current NDI requirements.

doi: 10.12783/SHM2015/330

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