The uncontroversial superiority of functionalized composite structures for new generation airframes has been well acknowledged by the research community. Such an approach has the potential to substantially enhance system performance and reduce overall manufacture-operation-maintenance expenditure. Recent progress in informatics and high-capability computing devices has offered a brand-new springboard for the aerospace community to reshuffle its traditional R&D criteria for functionalized composite structures. Particularly, artificial intelligence (AI), an intriguing information processing technique, exhibits outstanding effectiveness in accommodating the highly demanding requirements of new generation airframes. Appropriate utilization of AI techniques in functionalized composite airframe design will contribute to the realization of high-capability intelligent systems. The applications of advanced composite structures, artificial intelligence and sensing network techniques in aircraft industry are briefly reviewed in this paper, in correlation with various novel concepts. As a specific case study, an AI technique-based composite structure with the capability of structural health monitoring was developed. An artificial neural network was customized and trained using digitized spectrographic characteristics extracted from a multi-point sensing network. The system was then validated by executing on-line health diagnostics, and the results indicate excellent performance of AI techniques in functionalized composite structures.
- Composite structure