A distributed in-situ sensor that can simplify structural health monitoring is investigated in this paper. The distributed sensor can detect damage within the coverage area of the sensor by measuring acoustic emissions, but it cannot exactly locate the damage source due to the continuous nature of the sensor. A simulation and experiment showed that acoustic emissions occurring at any location on a composite panel can be detected by a single channel distributed sensor. In contrast, nine individual piezoceramic patch sensors would be needed to detect the acoustic emission.

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