MSU and Boeing to use up to $4 million to create new sensors

  • 14-Oct-2013 10:05 EDT

Lalita Udpa (second from right), professor of electrical and computer engineering in MSU’s College of Engineering, leads the effort to create a next generation of sensors that will identify aircraft structures that have been weakened by subsurface cracks and corrosion.

The U.S. Air Force awarded the Michigan State University College of Engineering and Boeing a contract worth up to $4 million to develop new designs of sensors that will better detect cracks in the second- and third-layers in airframe structures. MSU’s College of Engineering will develop and apply simulation models for the design of a sensor that can reliably detect cracks that are deep into the third layers in the presence of other complex edges and magnetic materials. MSU will spend about 18 months designing and testing new sensor concepts and designs in the laboratory. Boeing will then build a portable system integrated with an on-aircraft scanner and validate performance in the field. MSU will then use the feedback from Boeing to further fine-tune the design. Electromagnetic sensor systems that incorporate magnetoresistive detectors have been shown to have better capabilities than conventional current sensors for detecting cracks in thick and/or complex metallic airframes.

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