Early damage detection in composites during fabrication and mechanical testing

Neha Chandarana, Daniel Martinez Sanchez, Constantinos Soutis, Matthieu Gresil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Fully integrated monitoring systems have shown promise in improving confidence in composite materials while reducing lifecycle costs. A distributed optical fibre sensor is embedded in a fibre reinforced composite laminate, to give three sensing regions at different levels through-the-thickness of the plate. This study follows the resin infusion process during fabrication of the composite, monitoring the development of strain in-situ and in real time, and to gain better understanding of the resin rheology during curing. Piezoelectric wafer active sensors and electrical strain gauges are bonded to the plate after fabrication. This is followed by progressive loading/unloading cycles of mechanical four point bending. The strain values obtained from the optical fibre are in good agreement with strain data collected by surface mounted strain gauges, while the sensing regions clearly indicate the development of compressive, neutral, and tensile strain. Acoustic emission event detection suggests the formation of matrix (resin) cracks, with measured damage event amplitudes in agreement with values reported in published literature on the subject. The Felicity ratio for each subsequent loading cycle is calculated to track the progression of damage in the material. The methodology developed here can be used to follow the full life cycle of a composite structure, from manufacture to end-of-life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number685
Number of pages16
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic emission
  • Composites
  • Distributed strain
  • Optical fibre
  • Piezoelectric sensors
  • Structural health monitoring

Cite this