Dr. Gang Wang, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Dr. David (Andy) Hissam, mechanical and aerospace engineering doctoral graduate at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), are developing a piezoelectric load-sensing washer, which could provide greater accuracy measurements of the clamping force exerted by a bolt.
Piezoelectric materials can generate a voltage when they are under mechanical stress. The piezoelectric filaments of the washer will be connected to a handheld device that registers the amount of preload, or bolt clamping force, by reading the intensity of electrical outputs. This breakthrough will be beneficial to areas where the right preload is crucial such as construction, automobile assembly, nuclear power, racing, aviation and space.
Still under development, Dr. Wang and Dr. Hissam have filed a NASA Disclosure of Invention and New Technology and received a 2016 MSFC Center Innovation Fund grant in order to continue their research.Fasteners, Fastening Products, News