The 1st International Workshop on Embedded Optical Sensors for Composite Materials deals with the development, the properties and the applications of novel optical sensors and optical sensor techniques for monitoring composite materials during their entire life cycle, i.e. from production to operation.
Composite materials are increasingly used as high-grade constituents of heavy duty structures in many industries such as aerospace, wind energy production and civil construction, to name a few. The need to manage the lifecycle cost of these high end structures has become of paramount importance: costs need not only to be controlled at all stages of the production process but also during the service life of the structure. Today, several issues prevent the widespread use of composites up to their full potential. A first issue is the insufficient knowledge of the material behaviour during the cure process and during the assembly of the composite structures. During material production, monitoring is restricted to temperature measurements at a few selected locations. Subsequently the material is visually or ultrasonically checked for production flaws. Hence no adequate information about the degree of polymerization or residual strain distribution is gathered during the production process. However, having the ability to quantify the distribution of residual strains and a correct assessment of the degree of polymerization would allow optimizing cure cycles and achieving better composite compositions. A second issue is the poor knowledge of the integrity of a structure during service. Composites are prone to degradation and wear, which may not only have catastrophic economic consequences but also dramatic consequences on the safety of public and personnel. To avoid this, composite structures are commonly overdimensioned. Adequate integrity monitoring systems should nevertheless be able to provide confidence for engineering structures according to a damage tolerant design. Consequently there are many efforts conducted worldwide to develop composite monitoring systems based on the latest sensor technologies. This is a growing field of activity and the workshop illustrates this with an international panel of invited speakers that are all top-experts in the field.
Brussel Photonics Team - Vrije Universiteit Brussel: www.b-phot.org
Department of Materials Science & Engineering - Ghent University: http://www.ugent.be/ea/dmse/en