TOMOPLEX (Tomographic Plexus) sensor film can be applied to the components of aerospace vehicles to monitor them during flight. It can ultimately reduce maintenance costs in aerospace and make the reusability of space vehicles more likely.
In addition, the sensor film can detect material defects that only occur under mechanical stress but remain hidden during inspections in the hangar; for example, cracks whose fracture edges rejoin perfectly when unloaded. Such defects have been observed in composite materials made of plastics.
Currently, it is not practical to monitor aircraft and spacecraft in flight with a comprehensive installation of measuring probes. Conventional measurement technology is too big and too heavy. The new sensor film should enable continuous real-time monitoring.
The film uses tomographic measuring methods that are not yet common in aerospace. It functions as a circuit carrier for a wireless sensor network. According to the researchers, it is space-saving and flexible and can be attached to hard-to-reach places on aircraft and spacecraft.