Fatigue Crack Detection

Metal structures that are under constant stress as the result of loading and/or harsh environmental conditions are prone to detecting fatigue cracks. For example, rivets and other critical joints often bear a high concentration of stress, which can lead to crack initiation and propagation as a means of relieving the stress. Sometimes, minor flaws and imperfections introduced during the manufacturing process even become cracks during normal operation.

In many cases, it is impossible to detect a crack visually due to either the inaccessibility of the affected region or the microscopic size of the crack. Hidden cracks such as these can decrease the strength of the structure, resulting in ductile or brittle failure. At a minimum, this can lead to significant downtime of the affected asset, which is expensive; in the worst case, it may lead to injury or death.

Because early detection is the best way to prevent inconveniences and catastrophes, as well as reduce overall maintenance and lifecycle costs, crack detection is an important application for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM).

Acellent's SHM-Patch software is designed specifically for detecting and monitoring the growth of fatigue cracks in inaccessible and hard-to-inspect "hot spot" areas of metal structures across multiple industries, from aerospace to civil infrastructure.