Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Som R. Soni, PhD.


Aircraft are being pushed beyond their original service life, increasing the potential for structural failures. A catastrophic in flight failure of an F-15 bulkhead and severe cracking in the C-130 Wing rainbow fitting are two recent examples that have caused major problems for the Air Force. Previous Aircraft Structural Health Monitoring Systems research primarily explored using a system during the ground maintenance phase. This research will explore a Real-Time Aircraft Structural Health Monitoring System (RTASHMS) that includes a ground phase as well as an in-flight phase. The RTASHMS will continuously analyze structural hot spots, detect critical structural damage or cracks and will alert pilots and maintainers of potential trouble before a catastrophic structural failure. Current sensor technology has limited the construction and use of a reliable aircraft structural health monitoring system. This research will compare the capabilities of current sensor technology with the capabilities of a new cutting edge sensor. The new sensor shows promise in advancing a reliable RTASHMS from theory to reality. This technology was validated in Aluminum Dog Bone specimens and Composite Lap Joint with nano-adhesives.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Co-authored thesis.