Sensing system development for aviation


The aim of this PhD is the development of continuous embedded sensors that localize and detect impact damage in composite structures.


  1. Study and fabrication of compatible sensors with common composite materials;
  2. Develop signal processing and sensing signal output readout methodologies;
  3. Integration of composite materials with the embedded sensing system and determination of the damage location from signal processing;
  4. Perform impact characterization of the manufactured composites with sensors and localize the damage with signal processing.


Composite materials are used in prime and secondary applications such as aerospace, renewable energy, marine and automotive. Their intensive use exposes them to various external loads through their lifecycle. One of the most frequent catastrophic failures during the service life of a composite structure can be occurred with vibrations and impacts. In-situ damage systems for damage detection cam be used for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). The methods include either local, global or combined responses. The system measures displacement, acceleration or inclination by using various types of contact sensors such as strain gauges, accelerometer, piezoelectric sensors etc. However, in some cases there are economic and practical issues such as the installation of wires in the composite structure that may lead to deterioration of the mechanical properties. The need for in-situ damage detection and localization due to either static or dynamic indentation has increased the interest in multifunctional materials and structures.

Research theme: 

Industrial partner: 

Leonardo SpA

Principal supervisor: 

Professor Rebecca Cheung
University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering

Assistant supervisor: