Realisation of Sensitive Functionality by the Integration of Electromagnetic Resonators in Composite Materials

Toni Dirk Großmann, Melinda Hartwig, Michael Heinrich, Ricardo Decker, Christina Symmank, Anja Schmidt, Steffen Kurth, Uwe Götze, Reinhard R. Baumann, Lothar Kroll, Thomas Otto


Lightweight structures are gaining importance due to the relevance of saving energy in mobile applications. External stress caused by impacts, deformations or compression injures the composite materials mostly by invisible internal distortions and leads to the degradation of their properties. Thus, an early detection of material damage is significant in applications with a very high level of required reliability. Structural health monitoring (SHM) on demand using functionalised materials can be a solution [1, 2]. The integration of electromagnetic resonators in glass-fibre-reinforced plastics (GFRP) allows the fabrication of materials with passive sensor function used for SHM of composite materials. Conductive patterns with a specific geometry, dimension and alignment show an electromagnetic resonance that can be changed by the arrangement of the resonators or by the surrounded material. Printing technology is an efficient fabrication method regarding resources, time consumption and costs. The additive and selective deposition of conductive ink on flexible substrates shows a great potential to be processed roll-to-roll and subsequently integrated into lightweight structures [3]. The read-out takes place wirelessly by analysing the reflection response of the functionalised structure. The paper considers the modelling, numerical analysis, fabrication and evaluation of a smart structure and its sensor function. Furthermore, in order to create a basis for a successful market introduction and penetration of such innovative smart structures, a concept for an integrated life cycle-related engineering and business modelling [4] is outlined in this paper.

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