Standard Article

Environmental Monitoring of Aircraft

Principles of SHM-based Structural Monitoring, Design and Maintenance

Loads and Environment Monitoring

  1. Nicholas C. Bellinger,
  2. Marcias Martinez

Published Online: 15 SEP 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470061626.shm191

Encyclopedia of Structural Health Monitoring

Encyclopedia of Structural Health Monitoring

How to Cite

Bellinger, N. C. and Martinez, M. 2009. Environmental Monitoring of Aircraft. Encyclopedia of Structural Health Monitoring. .

Author Information

  1. Institute for Aerospace Research, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2009


Current aircraft life prediction methodologies do not take into account the effect that environmental degradation has on the structural integrity of a component. This has led to the setting of limits on the amount of damage, usually based on maintaining residual strength that can be present on a component. These arbitrary limits have caused a significant increase in the maintenance cost of aircraft, since components must undergo a repair procedure when the detected damage is above the preset limits. To better assess the state of an aircraft, sensors can be placed in areas known to be susceptible to environmental degradation, such as corrosion. These sensors can monitor the environment in the area of concern to determine if conditions are present to cause corrosion. Sensors can also be used to directly determine if corrosion damage is present on a particular component and to what level. However, procedures need to be developed to relate the parameters that are monitored by a particular sensor type to the life of the component. This may include the development of algorithms to relate the environmental parameters that favor the growth of corrosion to the corrosion damage present on the particular component.


  • corrosion;
  • sensors;
  • life assessment;
  • maintenance