Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are pioneering shape-sensing technologies that seek to maximize structural integrity and efficiency. A new and versatile computer program offers critical shape-monitoring capabilities and has applications for a wide variety of structures.
The Structure Deformation Calculation Program leverages surface strain data and structural geometrical parameters to calculate deformed shapes that can be displayed and analyzed to monitor the critical stress points of large structures. Written in C/C++, the program enables users to apply displacement transfer functions without possessing deep knowledge of the displacement theory and its underlying geometrical complexities.
Users select from seven defined structure types — for example, cantilever embedded beam, two-end supported beam, and thin uniform plate — and the program then applies the required displacement transfer function. Two input files are required: recorded measured strain data in comma-separated values (.csv) format and structured geometry data in text (.txt) format. Depending on the structure type, the program will output the out-of-plane deflections, slopes, cross-sectional twist angles, and depth factors.
All output files are created in .csv format, and program outputs are plotted using time history data. For example, it can show all strain-sensing stations at one specific time slice, one strain-sensing station in all time slices, or all strain-sensing stations in all time slices. Outputs can be plotted to visually display structure deflections, enabling corrective action to avert disasters.
This program can be applied to a wide range of structures such as aircrafts and spacecrafts (wing, tail, fuselage), ships (slab, plate, beam, truss), buildings, bridges, radio towers, and wind turbines.