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Nondestructive Evaluation


Using Magnetostrictive Sensor Technology to Monitor for Cracking on Aircraft Structure


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  image showing placements of sensor elements (click to enlarge)

Placement of sensor elements (Click image to enlarge)

  image showing results of MsS monitoring (click to enlarge)

Results of MsS monitoring (Click image to enlarge)

Using magnetostrictive sensor MsS® guided-wave technology was proposed by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) as a way to monitor for cracking on the A-10 airplane at the wing-to-fuselage attachment fitting after service life extension program (SLEP) modification. This modification made conventional nondestructive testing (NDT) techniques difficult without removal of structural members for inspections.


How Aircraft Was Monitored Using Magnetostrictive Sensor Technology

Cracking in the aluminum skin at the wing attachment area was monitored without removal of the structure. Nickel and Hiperco® 50HS sensor elements were bonded at strategic locations on the lower wing to monitor for cracks in a structurally modified area at the wing attachment fittings.


Dynamic fatigue testing was conducted and data were taken at intervals. These data were then compared to baseline data with results showing an anomaly representing a crack in the area of interest.


Aircraft experiments were conducted on a wing test article during dynamic fatigue testing. The results showed an anomaly at an area where it was known that a crack existed. This area was monitored continually, and data showed changes in reflectivity in the area of the SLEP modification. These changes may be from a crack in this area of the wing and also from changes in the fastener holes.


For more information about our nondestructive evaluation (NDE) capabilities and magnetostrictive sensor technology, or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Clinton J. Thwing, at or call (210) 522-3989.


Contact Information

Clinton J. Thwing

Nondestructive Evaluation

(210) 522-3989

Related Terminology

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guided wave

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horizontally polarized shear waves

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magnetostrictive sensor technology


nondestructive evaluation

plate inspection

pipe wall thinning

steel pipe inspection

torsional waves

| Sensor Systems and Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Technology Department | Mechanical Engineering Division | SwRI Home |

Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.