Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Sensors for micro-scale corrosion

Corrosive environmental factors such as atmospheric moisture, pH levels and ionic species can play an important role in structural degradation. When these degrading influences are of key interest, such as in the aerospace industry, the development of small-scale sensors that can monitor or predict their encroachment constitute a vital necessity.
Sensors for micro-scale corrosion
Corrosion of metals can occur at both the micro-and macro scale. Aircraft are particularly vulnerable to atmospheric corrosive elements and because of their high performance standards they need sensors to monitor corrosion at both scales. Currently, corrosion costs billions of euros per year. Sensor technology therefore has a large role to play in cutting down expenditure as well as providing better monitoring features. Sensors, for example, can record micro-scale corrosion, which may take place beneath surface coatings and are not visible to the naked eye.

BAE Systems has developed a range of sensors that can detect corrosive influences caused by moisture, acidity, ionic species and mass loss. Their sensors are based on semiconductor and MEMS technology. They have the additional feature of being adaptable to surface and structure type, tailored to monitor the degradation characteristics that structure or surface is most prone to.

Their particular interest lies in developing sensors that measure corrosion as well as other environmental degradation mechanisms that affect materials. Development may also include predictive models. This scope is important since corrosion can take on many different forms.

Currently, their sensor technology is in the development stage, but headway has been made with corrosion sensors and predictive models already produced. Further development is required and BAE Systems are currently looking for further research and development support.
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