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University of Tennessee

How UT reduced distributed sensing data processing time to minutes with iDAAS

I would definitely recommend iDAAS to anyone in the composites industry to reduce time spent processing sensing data. Being able to take the data immediately and visualize it from the actual test in situ in iDAAS is something I’ve not seen anywhere else.”

-Zach Arwood, PhD, University of Tennessee, Knxoville

Cutting-edge composites research at UTK

At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), Dr. Dayakar Penumadu from the Tickle College of Engineering and with the Institute for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing - IAMM, and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation - IACMI, leads one of the premier composites research groups in the nation. His research group focuses on various research areas, from sustainability to structural integrity and works across different industries including automotive, renewable energy and biocomposites. 

“We have the ability to characterize everything from literally the atomic level to the micro scale effects all the way up to the bulk scale. We can go from cradle to grave on composites analysis giving our sponsors key feedback on the performance of their materials,” says Dr. Stephen Young, Project Manager in the department, working with Dr. Penumadu on composite materials research.

Pultrusion setup

He focuses on composite materials mechanical testing and non-destructive evaluation, looking at the manufacturability and performance of composites for various applications.

Dr. Young and his team work on a wide variety of projects, collaborating with industrial sponsors such as Volkswagen, TPI, and local startups. They also participate in a larger consortium (IACMI) that consists of numerous universities and national labs, connecting with industry partners to evaluate wind blade manufacturability and structural performance.

Challenge: Hours to process sensing data for composites research

One of the main challenges faced by the team was post-processing distributed sensing data. They would collect large amounts of sensing data along the materials subjected to various loads. However, they lacked an efficient and effective way to process, analyze, and visualize the data.

“We would spend a lot of time just trying to get the data in a format that we can use, and then we would have to use different software tools to do different types of analysis, which was very time-consuming and cumbersome,” Dr. Young said. “We also had difficulty in communicating the results to our sponsors and collaborators, because the data was not easy to understand or present.”

They needed a software solution that could help them analyze and visualize sensing data quickly instead of spending hours to just get a snapshot of one part of the data. 

Zach Arwood, a PhD student under Dr. Penumadu, and part of the research lab, added, “You can imagine a 2 meter sensor with a gauge length of about 5 mm. We are collecting data along this sensor at several points - 5 to 20 hertz on a 10 minute test resulting in a very large file. It took us hours to sift through that data, even with our own code.”

Solution: Analysis & visualization in minutes with iDAAS

The team found the perfect solution in iDAAS, a sensing analysis software from SIMAT Technologies. iDAAS is a Windows-based, hardware-agnostic software that helps visualize & analyze Distributed Fiber Optic Sensing (DFOS) data in minutes. The team used iDAAS to post-process the sensing data collected using hardware from LUNA innovations. 

“iDAAS helps us visualize large amounts of sensing data in minutes. We can get a bird’s eye view of the data as well as zoom in and look at a small scale of it, helping us make quicker decisions,” said Stephen. 

Zach Arwood analyzing distributed sensing data with iDAAS

One of the recent tests involved intentional defects and intrusion where iDAAS was used to visualize where defects are occurring along a part. Once data is collected, iDAAS quickly shows the exact locations of strain concentrations along a part. Being able to highlight the strain intensities quickly helps the team understand the alignment & proximity of fiber optic material better, helping inform future tests, 

Zach, who describes his part in the research as ‘helping people break stuff’, is one of the primary users of iDAAS in the lab. “iDAAS is very user friendly. Easy-to-navigate GUI, excellent visualization and takes under an hour to explore most of the features,” said Zach. 

“We also received very good support from Prabhu Shankar, the founder of SIMAT. Recently, we had an issue with post-processing data in some gauge regions. Prabhu quickly found the issue and fixed it for us. The attention to customers is a huge draw of iDAAS and SIMAT.”

Results: Improving composites research with better data processing

By using iDAAS, the team at UT were able to improve their composite materials research in several ways. 

  • Get a comprehensive overview of material performance quickly

  • Save time and effort in data processing, analysis, and visualization

  • Enhance the quality and accuracy of data analysis and results

  • Cut down project costs & lead time

  • Communicate and collaborate more effectively with their sponsors and collaborators

Life and damage calculation in iDAAS (representative data)

“IDAAS is a game-changer for us. We do a lot of fatigue testing and the fatigue model helps visualize the data quickly and determine how long the materials can last. That’s really key to the industries we are serving. We can deliver insights into the serviceability of their products faster and better with iDAAS,” added Stephen.  

Stephen and his team plan to continue using iDAAS for their future composite research projects.

“This is really cutting edge software. Whether it’s determining defects in-situ during the life of the part, visualizing data in multiple formats like contour plots or determining deflection in beam bending, iDAAS is very unique in what it offers to the composites industry,” added Zach. 

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