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 Energy-autonomous sensors for aircraft

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Date posted: 04/10/2009

Aircraft maintenance will be easier in future, with sensors monitoring the aircraft skin. If they discover any dents or cracks they will send a radio message to a monitoring unit. The energy needed for this will be obtained from temperature difference.

If a bird collides with a plane the consequences can be fatal, not only for the creature itself. The impact can deform the structure of the aircraft fuselage, causing stresses in the material which can later turn into cracks. In future, sensors in the aircraft skin will detect such damage at an early stage and simplify maintenance and repair work. The sensors are light - they don't need any cables or batteries. They draw their energy from the temperature difference between the outside air (about minus 20 to minus 50 degrees Celsius) and the passenger cabin (about 20 degrees Celsius). Because there are no batteries to change, the sensors can be located at inaccessible places on the aircraft.

EADS Innovation Works heads the development consortium. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM in Freiburg, Germany, are developing the energy supply system for the sensors. "We use thermoelectric generators, developed in cooperation with Micropelt GmbH, and adapt them so that they work efficiently," explains Dr. Dirk Ebling, scientist at the IPM.

See the full Story via external site: www.physorg.com



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