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Iowa State University--Becoming the Best

Evaluation of the Metal Fatigue Solutions Electrochemical Fatigue Sensor System


Principal investigators:

Project status

In progress

Start date: 12/01/15
End date: 11/30/17



About the research


Identifying fatigue cracks in bridges and other structures is a very difficult task. Even more difficult is identifying if something that looks like a fatigue crack is an actively growing crack--and one that could induce serious structural damage.

In the early 1990s work was initiated to develop a nondestructive technique for identifying fatigue cracks in small, inaccessible aircraft parts. Initial efforts focused on the measurement of corrosion fatigue. The initial research on a nondestructive evaluation (NDE) technique based on electrochemical principles quickly revealed that corrosion current could be measured with unusual precision.

With this fundamental basis and a basic understanding of the fatigue cracking process, the initial development focused on developing a crack detection technique that was actually based on the detection of the growth of corrosion products. The resulting technology has a remarkable capability of detecting very small fatigue cracks that are actively growing and is known as the electrochemical fatigue sensor (EFS).

The goal with this work is to purchase and evaluate the EFS system such that, when necessary, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) knows how, when, and where to deploy the system most effectively.