TOMOPLEX – A sensor film to monitor structures during flight and under a load

INNOspace_Broschuere_2020-2021-2nd DLR

Only reusability ensures cost-effectiveness in order to be able to operate the space sector in line with “New Space”. However, the possible saving in costs is limited by maintenance requirements. Some faults also only occur under a load, but remain hidden during inspections without a load. One example of this is break lines, which fit together perfectly in an unloaded state. A comprehensive installation of measuring probes to monitor structures during flight is not currently feasible, as the conventional measuring technology required for this is too large and heavy. The problem of needing to monitor structures in real time has now been resolved by creating a version of the sensor as a sensor film that can be applied to the surfaces of the structures undergoing monitoring. It is possible to use alternative measuring procedures and, in particular, electric impedance tomography (EIT) here, which has been uncommon in the aerospace sector up to now. The sensor film acts as the circuit carrier for a wireless sensor network. The sensor film is space-saving and flexible, and can also be used in hard-to-reach areas.


  • Continuous real-time monitoring under a load during flight
  • Increase in the likelihood of reusability
  • Reduced costs due to optimised maintenance with the aid of innovative analysis data

Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Alexander Hilgarth, Prof. Sergio Montenegro

Universität Würzburg
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