A Novel, Low Cost and Handheld Microwave Sensor for the Detection and Evaluation of Incipient Composite Heat Damage
Navy SBIR FY2013.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2013.1
Topic No.: N131-013
Topic Title: A Novel, Low Cost and Handheld Microwave Sensor for the Detection and Evaluation of Incipient Composite Heat Damage
Proposal No.: N131-013-0647
Firm: AlphaSense, Inc.
510 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, Delaware 19809
Contact: Pengcheng Lv
Phone: (302) 998-1116
Web Site: www.alphasense.net
Abstract: In this proposal, AlphaSense, Inc. details the development of a novel, low cost and handheld microwave sensor for the detection and evaluation of incipient composite heat damage. The merits of the proposed sensor and its advantages over other techniques are listed below: a) Compact, handheld and low cost, b) Sensitive for incipient heat damage detection, c) Capable of quantitative analysis of the incipient heat damage levels, d) Capable of interrogating through coating layers, e) High throughput measurement process, and f) Easy and safe to the operators.
Benefits: The outcome of this research is coupled to a very clear commercialization path. The proposed sensor can be used for many military and civilian applications. The most straightforward military application of the proposed sensor is to detect and quantify the incipient heat damage in a wide variety of composite components. Consequently, the deployment of the sensor in the field can enable condition based maintenance, which will lead to substantial time and cost savings in the maintenance and repair of those composite components. For civilian applications, the proposed sensor can be used by commercial aerospace and aviation OEMs as a powerful non-destructive evaluation tool to inspect incipient heat damages in composite aircraft components. In addition to the incipient heat damage, the sensor can also be used to detect other forms of defects present in a wide variety of materials and platforms. This is because different types of defects change the material electromagnetic property differently, which can be evaluated by the sensitive cavity resonance perturbation technique. Consequently, defects including corrosion, material degradation, aging and sensitization present in polymer, metal, composite and ceramic material system can be potentially detected with the proposed sensor technology. We estimate that the total market size in the above-mentioned market sectors can easily exceed $50M/year.