Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Shankar Mall, PhD


This study investigated the effects of embedding optical fibers into advanced composite materials. This combination was meant to simulate 'smart structures' that have been shown to sense several different variables in the composite including strain, temperature, and damage. A laminate orientation taken from an existing aircraft structure was used to fabricate sixteen groups of specimens which were subjected to compression testing in an IITRI fixture to determine the ultimate compressive strength and modulus of elasticity. Ten of these groups were fabricated with optical fibers while the other six were control groups and contained no optical fibers. This study showed that varying the number of embedded optical fibers, optical fiber size, optical fiber orientation, and optical fiber location in the composite structure can reduce the compressive strength of the structure by up to 27%. This maximum degradation occurred when multiple optical fibers were placed perpendicular to the composite structural fibers. No deleterious effects were seen when the optical fiber was placed parallel to the composite structural fibers. No change in modulus of elasticity was seen for any of the groups tested.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



The author's Vita page is omitted.