Additive Manufacturing (AM), more widely known under the popular term of 3D printing, is an emerging manufacturing technique. Starting from a base plate, material is added in a layerwise manner according to the design presented in the 3D model data. The design freedom allows creating complex shaped components at almost no additional cost while integrating smart functionalities. The capability to produce lightweight structural components has raised the interest of many industries.
Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is the process of continuously evaluating the integrity of structures in such a way that non destructive testing becomes an integral part of the structure. To be successful in real world applications, the SHM system must be robust and uninfluenced by environmental changes. Ideally, the SHM must be incorporated into the component creating a smart structure. The design freedom offered by AM techniques allows the integration of an SHM system inside an additively manufactured component.
A novel approach of SHM was developed at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel based on the aforementioned technologies. The effective Structural Health Monitoring (eSHM) system is based on the integration of pressurized capillaries inside the structure to be monitored. Fatigue cracks breaching through the capillaries will create a leak flow, altering the pressure level inside the capillaries of the eSHM system. Deformation of the capillaries allows estimating the loads that are acting on the structure. It is the subject of this thesis to develop the eSHM system.