Damage Detection in Composites By Artificial Neural Networks Trained By Using in Situ Distributed Strains

A. Califano, N. Chandarana, L. Grassia, A. D’Amore, C. Soutis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, a passive structural health monitoring (SHM) method capable of detecting the presence of damage in carbon fibre/epoxy composite plates is developed. The method requires the measurement of strains from the considered structure, which are used to set up, train, and test artificial neural networks (ANNs). At the end of the training phase, the networks find correlations between the given strains, which represent the ‘fingerprint’ of the structure under investigation. Changes in the distribution of these strains is captured by assessing differences in the previously identified strain correlations. If any cause generates damage that alters the strain distribution, this is considered as a reason for further detailed structural inspection. The novelty of the strain algorithm comes from its independence from both the choice of material and the loading condition. It does not require the prior knowledge of material properties based on stress-strain relationships and, as the strain correlations represent the structure and its mechanical behaviour, they are valid for the full range of operating loads. An implementation of such approach is herein presented based on the usage of a distributed optical fibre sensor that allows to obtain strain measurement with an incredibly high resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657–671
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Composite Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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