Space Application of Piezoelectric Wafer Active Sensors for Structural Health Monitoring

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Engineering, Mechanical Engineering


Piezoelectric wafer active sensors (PWAS) are lightweight and inexpensive enablers for a large class of structural health monitoring (SHM) applications. This paper presents and discusses the challenges and opportunities related to the use of PWAS in the structures specific to space applications. The challenges posed by space structures are often different from those encountered in conventional structures. After a review of PWAS principles, the paper discusses the multi-physics power and energy transduction between structurally guided waves and PWAS; predictive modeling results using a simplified analytical approach are presented. Experimental results on space-like specimen structures are presented. Survivability of PWAS transducers under cryogenic space-like conditions is experimentally verified. The paper ends with conclusions and suggestions for further work.