Reliable operation of next generation high-speed complex structures (e.g. hypersonic air vehicles, space structures, and weapons) relies on the development of microsecond structural health monitoring (μSHM) systems. High amplitude impacts may damage or alter the structure, and therefore change the underlying system configuration and the dynamic response of these systems. While state-of-the-art structural health monitoring (SHM) systems can measure structures which change on the order of seconds to minutes, there are no real-time methods for detection and characterization of damage in the microsecond timescales.

This paper presents preliminary analysis addressing the need for microsecond detection of state and parameter changes. A background of current SHM methods is presented, and the need for high rate, adaptive state estimators is illustrated. Example observers are tested on simulations of a two-degree of freedom system with a nonlinear, time-varying stiffness coupling the two masses. These results illustrate some of the challenges facing high speed damage detection.

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