Publications from DIMES

Project Overview

Welcome to DIMES

DIMES is an Innovation Action within the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Clean Sky 2 program under Grant Agreement No. 820951.

This website reflects only the author's view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Our team involves Airbus Operations SAS ( Topic Manager) as well as University of Liverpool (Coordinator), Strain Solutions Ltd. (Technical Coordinator), Empa (Beneficiary) and Dantec Dynamics GmbH ( Beneficiary).

The aim of the project is to develop advanced integrated testing methods that have the capability to detect a crack or delamination in a metallic or composite structure and have the potential to be deployed as part of an on-board structural health monitoring system for passenger aircraft. Results of preliminary tests at Empa will be documented on this website.

Find here an introductory video for DIMES, while the CORDIS website has a Results in Brief article on DIMES.

Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking

Clean Sky is the largest European research programme developing innovative, cutting-edge technology aimed at reducing CO2 gas emissions and noise levels produced by aircraft. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, Clean Sky contributes to strengthening European aero-industry collaboration, global leadership and competitiveness.

The DIMES project has been high-lighted on Clean Sky News.



Ongoing travel restrictions prevented the DIMES team from visiting Toulouse for deploying the measurement system on a cockpit test. Instead, the system was shipped to Airbus, and the Topic Manager has commissioned it under remote guidance by the team.


Prof Dr Eann Patterson
Project Coordinator
University Liverpool

Linden Harris
Topic Manager
Airbus Operations SAS

Blog posts

A series of posts from the Realize Engineering blog describe activities associated with the DIMES (Development of Integrated MEasurement Systems) project and were published between January 2019 and October 2021.
Too much of a good thing?

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about ‘Our last DIMES’ meetings.  They were hybrid meetings with about half the participants attending in person and the remainder on-line.  ...  One of our first steps was to re-equip our meeting rooms with higher quality video conferencing facilities ... If you have never been present during a wing-bend test or a fatigue test on a large composite panel then you might find these clips interesting (see also the video of ‘Noisy progressive failure of a composite panel’ ).  We also produced an introductory video for the DIMES project which was to be first in a series of video shorts but the pandemic intervened ...

For more short videos from our earlier projects see ‘Archive video footage from EU projects’ on June 5th, 2019.

This blog post appeared on October 6th, 2021, on

Our last DIMES

Thirty-three months ago (see ‘Finding DIMES‘ on February 6th, 2019) we set off at a gallop ‘to develop and demonstrate an automated measurement system that integrates a range of measurement approaches to enable damage and cracks to be detected and monitored as they originate at multi-material interfaces in an aircraft assembly’. ...   Two weeks ago, we held our final review meeting. ...   Our innovative technology allows condition-led monitoring based on automated damage detection and enables ground tests on aircraft structures to be run 24/7 saving about 3 months on each year-long test.

This blog post appeared on September 22nd, 2021, on
Noisy progressive failure of a composite panel

Composite materials have revolutionized many fields of engineering by providing lightweight strong components whose internal structure can be tailored to optimise their load-bearing capabilities. ...  Last month, we completed a further round of tests at Empa to demonstrate the system’s capabilities on composite structures which have been tested almost to destruction.  ...  Watch and listen to this short video to see and hear the material being torn apart – ignore the loud creaking and groaning from the test rig, it’s the quieter sound like dead leaves being swept up.

This blog post appeared on June 30th, 2021, on

An upside to lockdown

While pandemic lockdowns and travel bans are having a severe impact on spontaneity and creativity in research, they have induced a high level of ingenuity to achieve the final objective of the DIMES project, which is to conduct prototype demonstrations and evaluation tests of the DIMES integrated measurement system.  We have gone beyond the project brief by developing a remote installation system that allows local engineers at a test site to successfully set-up and run our measurement system. This has saved thousands of airmiles and several tonnes of CO2 emissions ...  We are about to stretch our capabilities further by conducting a remote installation and evaluation test during a full-scale aircraft test at the Aerospace Research Centre of the National Research Council Canada in Ottawa, Canada. ...  

This blog post appeared on April 14th, 2021, on
Out of the valley of death into a hype cycle?
The capability to identify damage and track its propagation in structures is important in ensuring the safe operation of a wide variety of engineering infrastructure, including aircraft structures. ...   This blog post appeared on February 24th, 2021, on
Most valued player performs remote installation
In the DIMES project we have developed an innovative system for detecting and monitoring the propagation of damage in aircraft structures, and prior to the pandemic, we were planning to demonstrate it on a full-scale test of an aircraft fuselage section at Airbus in Toulouse. ... We designed a communication system that included a headset with camera, microphone and earpieces so that our colleague in Toulouse could be guided through the installation of our system by engineers in Germany, Switzerland and the UK. ...   This blog post appeared on December 2nd, 2020, on
My Engineering Day
Today is ‘This is Engineering’ day organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering to showcase what engineers and engineering really look like, celebrate our impact on the world and shift public perception of engineering towards an appreciation that engineers are a varied and diverse group of people who are critical to solving societal challenges.  You can find out more at  I have decided to contribute to ‘This is Engineering’ day by describing what I do on a typical working day as an engineer. ...   This blog post appeared on November 4th, 2020, on
Turning the screw in dentistry
Two weeks ago, I wrote about supervising PhD students and my own PhD thesis.  The tedium of collecting data as a PhD student without digital instrumentation stimulated me to work subsequently on automation in experimental mechanics which ultimately led to projects like INSTRUCTIVE and DIMES.  In INSTRUCTIVE we developed  low-cost digital sensors for tracking damage in components; while in DIMES we are transitioning the technology into the industrial environment using tests on full-scale aircraft systems as demonstrators...   This blog post appeared on September 30th, 2020, on
Condition-monitoring using infrared imaging
f you have travelled in Asia then you will probably have experienced having your health monitored by infrared cameras as you disembarked from your flight. ... In the DIMES project, we have implemented a low-cost sensor system that integrates infrared and visible images with information about applied loads from point sensors, which allows the identification of initiation and tracking of damage in aircraft structures... This blog post appeared on June 17th, 2020, on
When seeing nothing is a success
...A few months ago, Airbus delivered a section of an A320 wing to the labs of EMPA who are our project partner in Switzerland, and the team at EMPA has been rigging the wing section for a simple bending test so that we can use it to test the integrated measurement system which we are developing in the DIMES project. ... This blog post appeared on December 11th, 2019, on
Same problems in a different language

... My research group is working on how we demonstrate the fidelity of predictions from models, how we establish trust in both predictions from computational models and measurements from experiments that are often also ‘models’ of the real world.  The issues are similar whether we are considering the structural performance of aircraft [as in DIMES], the impact of agro-chemicals, or the performance of fusion energy and the impact of a geological disposal site.... This blog post appeared on October30th, 2019, on

Joining the dots
...I gave a short briefing on DIMES to a group of Airbus engineers last month and it was good see some excitement in the room about the direction of the project.  And, it felt good to be highlighting how we are building on earlier investments in research by joining the dots to create a deployable measurement system and delivering the complete picture in terms of information about the condition of the structure. This blog post appeared on July 10th, 2019, on
Finding DIMES
...To quote our EU documentation, the overall aim of DIMES is ‘to develop and demonstrate an automated measurement system that integrates a range of measurement approaches to enable damage and cracks to be detected and monitored as they originate at multi-material interfaces in an aircraft assembly’.... This blog post appeared on February 6th, 2019, on

Background Publications on NDE and SHM

Journal Papers

Wing test bench

We have designed, built and commissioned a wing test bench at Empa for the demonstration of the integrated DIMES measurement system to detect and monitor crack initiation and growth.
From design to reality
Starting from the test article and its load bearing capability, a test bench in the form of an asymmetric three point bend was designed and realized.
Sensor installation
The DIMES system combines image sensors (left, inside a wing bay) with point sensors (right, on the front spar). Visual cameras are used for Digital Image Correlation (DIC) while thermal cameras are monitoring changes in the stress field. Fibre Bragg Gratings (FBG) and Resistance Strain Gauges (RSG) are used for the measurement of the local strains.
Test program
Force and displacement at the onset of constant amplitude cyclic loading as displayed in real-time on the GUI.
wing was exposed to fatigue loading in up- and downbend. It was loaded quasi-statically to a given deflection and then vibrated with a constant amplitude for several thousend cycles. Both the preset deflection and the amplitude were gradually increased to the point that cracks were initiated and grown in the front spar. For an even harder test, a type of flight cycle loading was applied with excursions into up- and downbend, while vibration amplitudes and frequencies were varied according to a prescribed programme.
Crack detection