This paper summarizes the experimental investigations for smart embedded sensing in rotorcraft composite components. The overall objective of this effort was to develop smart embedded sensor technologies for condition based maintenance (CBM) for composite components in Army rotorcraft. This paper presents the results of experimental investigations related to development and maturation of different types of embedded sensing solutions for structural health monitoring of composite components including Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors, phased and discrete piezoelectric sensor arrays. A discussion is provided relative to embedment of optical fibers into composites, and the results from embedded FBG sensors in a rotorcraft flexbeam subcomponent test specimen with seeded delamination subjected to dynamic loading. Likewise, results are analyzed of surface mounted phased array and embedded smart piezoelectric sensors in the flexbeam subcomponent test specimen with embedded delamination, subjected to fatigue cyclic loading. The paper also summarizes the lessons learned from efforts to nucleate and propagate delamination within composite components under dynamic cyclic loading.

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