Monitoring stress changes in carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites with GHz radiation

Peter Schemmel, Andrew J. Moore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
115 Downloads (Pure)


We performed proof of concept experiments to demonstrate that the reflected power of GHz illumination from the surface of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites is linearly related to the stress in the material. We introduce a stress coefficient to describe the change in normalized power with applied stress, analogous to the stress-optic coefficient, because the effect is attributed to changes in the refractive index of the effective medium comprising the polymer matrix and carbon fibers. Stress coefficients of −0.549 ± 0.134∕GPa and −0.154 ± 0.024∕GPa were measured for two different composite materials, both linear in the measurement range of 40 MPa and 100 Mpa, respectively. This technique opens up the possibility of non-destructive evaluation of stresses in CFRP components for quality assurance in manufacturing and in structural health monitoring of in-service aerospace and automotive parts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6405-6409
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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