Preventing catastrophic failures by detecting and monitoring flaws and damage is a primary concern in the design, manufacturing, and testing of composite structures being developed for advanced air, ground, and marine vehicles.
During scheduled maintenance, non-destructive evaluation methods based on various physical principles such as x-rays, ultrasound, and laser optics can be employed to evaluate structural reliability without harming the future usefulness of the structures.
It would be much more beneficial if the composite structure can diagnose its own structural health and residual life. This concept, so called smart materials and structures is often implemented by using embedded sensors and real-time monitoring. The main aim of this thrust area is to develop experimental and analytical schemes to establish such self-diagnostic composite structures.