Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Anthony N. Palazotto, PhD


The field of structural health monitoring (SHM) attempts to reduce labor and cost by allowing technicians to monitor selected properties of an aircraft's structure to detect impending failure. This research examines methods to detect damage to a thermal protection system (TPS) tile using representative 2024-T3 aluminum plates. Plates are subjected to modal analysis in single and joined conditions in an attempt to provide the capability of sensing damage to a tile on the surface of a vehicle while the sensors remain on the superstructure of the airframe. Jointly, the development of a means to model the system using finite element techniques is explored. It is found that the finite element modeling technique produces correlating modal frequencies within a 7.19% worst case average when compared to the physical tests. This leads to the ability to compare mode shapes and frequencies to detect damage in a system.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number