The preliminary results have been promising. Stoffel says that once the team has successfully completed the initial project, GE will be able to implement the sensor technology into its businesses. Sikorsky would like to build upon the initial project’s work by creating a customized, field-ready interrogator, using available parts and components, that could read all of the embedded sensors at once.

There’s a variety of applications where smart composites with embedded sensors could be used, ranging from rotating and structural components in aircraft to riser pipes in the oil and gas industry. The use of reliable embedded sensors will be critical for structural health monitoring and condition-based maintenance approaches, increasing long term performance, assuring that maintenance is done when needed and reducing cost and downtime. “That is the innovation part,” says Nath. “These are passive, wireless sensors that can be embedded and read remotely, and hopefully we can leverage that technology.”