Side skirt with SHM sensor network on display at COMPOSITE Europe

In the period from 10th – 12th September 2019, a side skirt for a commuter railcar made by Forster SMT GmbH, was exhibited at the booth of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) during the COMPOSITE Europe.

The special feature of the side skirt being made in a vacuum infusion process is on its inside. There is an SHM-network (Structural Health Monitoring) applied, which was developed and manufactured by INVENT GmbH. The network works with piezoceramic sensors. During the manufacturing of the side skirt at SMT, the sensor network is fixed on the outer glass layer. During the infusion process the network will then completely be embedded in resin, thus forming a secure bond with the fiberglass cover layer. Another side skirt equipped with this innovative SHM network is currently in a field test in real train operation.

The use of such SHM systems leads to a better understanding of the damage behavior of modern materials under real operating conditions. The long-term goal is to detect damage in fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) at an early stage in order to avoid unplanned vehicle breakdowns and to enable demand-oriented maintenance cycles. Finally, SHM systems can promote the usage of FRP with great lightweight-potential in highly loaded structures.

This research and development work was made possible by a funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for the joint project faWaSiS, in which several companies and research institutions are involved.

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