S. aerospace corporation, the US Air Force and NASA are driving the development of "smart structures" to improve the performance of military aircraft and spacecraft.
The goal is a "smart aerial vehicle" that is smart enough for the pilot to just tell it where he wants to go and when to go there.
A computer on board monitored the condition of the plane and instructed the ground personnel to repair it.
Internal sensors made of optical fibers can work while the vehicle is flying, for example, detecting stress in components made of plastic composites and passing data to a central computer.
Aerospace engineers will find that these materials are particularly suitable for plastic composites used in future cars.
Similar technologies may turn the vehicle's "shell" into a radar antenna or communication artery.
Eventually, electronic weapons may also be embedded in structural materials.
The manufacturer has inserted glass or carbon fiber into the plastic matrix to enhance the composite.
Fiber optic sensors can also be put into the matrix.
The fiber made of glass is the most likely type of sensor because it does not carry current;
Although small in size and light in weight, it can withstand the effects of chemicals and temperatures encountered during the manufacturing of most composites.
The first use of this technology may be to control manufacturing.
For example, traditional electronic sensors cannot monitor the internal condition of the plastic, and the plastic will only become stronger if it is cured correctly. Fibre-
Optical sensors connected by composite materials can monitor the temperature and chemical conditions of the material.
A device developed by Macdonald Douglas Aerospace, California, USA for the detection of plastic materials.
This hardening causes the fiber to produce a slight bend, and the detector can measure the amount of light lost when passing through the material.
Another detector from the Vermont simmondsp repulse measures fluorescence, changing the refractive index of the plastic with hardening.
Eric Ude of MacDonald Douglas believes that the next step is to use an embedded sensor to check its "health" before the vehicle takes off ".
At present, the flight crew carried out detailed tests on the space shuttle before launching, and the fighter plane pasted a pressure gauge on important components.
USAFis is also interested in using this technology to measure the damage its aircraft has suffered in combat. When on-
Intelligent structure can provide real help for pilots. time data.
They may warn of excessive fatigue or icy wings.
There are few claims about the use of similar technologies in communications, radar systems and electronic warfare. Fibre-
Since the optical system is free from interference and interference, it looks attractive. It is believed that optical systems have been used in military vehicles.