Under a Link Photonics Foresight research project, high-tech carbon and composite product designer and manufacturer Carbospars teamed up with industry and Aston University to develop a special load measuring system.
Working with British Aerospace’s Sowerby Research Centre, its Military Aircraft and Aerostructures division, Pendennis Shipyards and the university, Carbospars built two of the world’s largest carbon-fibre masts, measuring 60m and 38m respectively, for super yachts.
The masts were fitted with new structural monitors using smart fibre technology, which incorporates sensors developed by Aston University to give a permanent structural health record of each mast.
Carbospars managing director Damon Roberts says: ‘As a small company, we benefited from technology transfer with the research departments of a major aerospace manufacturer and a university.
‘The Link project helped us focus development and led to the creation of a new subsidiary called Smart Fibres, which is now producing a production version and software for the electro-optical structural monitor.’