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Army Researchers Point to Early Warning Signs in Military Vehicle Structures
Researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory have shown that early fatigue damage behavior in structures may be predicted through the study of the microscale mechanical behavior of the material. Daniel Cole explained, “Many current structural health monitoring (SHM) techniques are limited to detecting very late stage damage;… our group is interested in fundamental material behavior prior to damage in the conventional sense, such as a macro-scale fatigue crack.” He said that if the behavior of the material prior to damage is better understood, this could lead to vehicle structures that act as sensors themselves, with the ability to report their health state and adapt to varying conditions.
The researchers created controlled fatigue damage precursors by exposing slender cantilever beams to vibratory loads and identified subtle variations in the dynamic behavior of the beams—such as shifts in the natural...