Kara Peters

Professor, Director of Graduate Programs, Associate Dept. Head

  • 919-515-5226
  • Engineering Building III (EB3) 3116

Dr. Peters’ long-term goal is to contribute to the advancement of nondestructive evaluation and structural health monitoring techniques for composite aerospace structures. The advancements tend to increase safety and improve performance of structural systems. She served as the program director for the Mechanics of Materials and Structures program at the National Science Foundation from 2015-2018. She is an Associate Editor of the journal Smart Materials and Structures and the ASME Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation, Diagnostics and Prognostics of Engineering Systems. She is also on the editorial board of the journal Measurement Science and Technology.

Dr. Peters teaches Mechanics of Composite Structures (MAE 537). Her presentation in this course has a fundamental flavor. In this course, Dr. Peters surveys composite structures in the aerospace industry, and gives students an understanding of the current state-of-the-art. Dr. Peters teaches Aerospace Structures I and II (MAE 371 and MAE 472). In these courses, she outlines the current state-of-the-art of aircraft structures and describes some of the advancements being anticipated in the near future.

Dr. Peters works closely with her students to help them develop strong experimental problem-solving skills. Her students bridge the gap between optics and mechanics and work in a hands-on, experimental environment. They fabricate the composite structures themselves, from learning how to embed sensors into composite materials to learning how to make different kinds of optical interfaces.

NSF Sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site: Composites for Extreme Environments



Aerospace Engineering

University of Michigan


Applied Mathematics

University of Michigan


Aerospace Engineering

University of Michigan


Aerospace Engineering

University of Virginia

Research Description

Dr. Peters is interested in structural health monitoring, optical fiber sensors, and composite materials. Currently, she is designing and integrating optical sensors into composites (woven, laminates, sandwich structures, and joints) and is studying self-healing composite sandwich structures.


Modified transfer matrix formulation for Bragg grating strain sensors
Prabhugoud, M., & Peters, K. (2019), Journal of Lightwave Technology, 22(10), 2302–2309. https://doi.org/10.1109/JLT.2004.833281
Strain state dependent anisotropic viscoelasticity of tendon-to-bone insertion
Kuznetsov, S., Pankow, M., Peters, K., & Huang, H.-Y. S. (2019), MATHEMATICAL BIOSCIENCES, 308, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mbs.2018.12.007
Announcing the 2017 Measurement Science and Technology Outstanding Paper Awards
Peters, K., Jakoby, B., Myers, J., Yang, W., Foss, J., Fansler, T., & Yacoot, A. (2018), MEASUREMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 29(9). https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6501/aacf51
Design and demonstration of a seabird-inspired fixed-wing hybrid UAV-UUV system
Stewart, W., Weisler, W., MacLeod, M., Powers, T., Defreitas, A., Gritter, R., … al. (2018), BIOINSPIRATION & BIOMIMETICS, 13(5). https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-3190/aad48b
Effect of continuous optical fiber bonding on ultrasonic detection using fiber Bragg grating
Wee, J., Hackney, D., Bradford, P., & Peters, K. (2018), In SENSORS AND SMART STRUCTURES TECHNOLOGIES FOR CIVIL, MECHANICAL, AND AEROSPACE SYSTEMS 2018 (Vol. 10598). https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2295833
Experimental study on directionality of ultrasonic wave coupling using surface-bonded fiber Bragg grating sensors
Wee, J., Hackney, D., Bradford, P., & Peters, K. (2018), Journal of Lightwave Technology, 36(4), 932–938. https://doi.org/10.1109/jlt.2017.2769960
High-speed polarization imaging of dynamic collagen fiber realignment in tendon-to-bone insertion region
Wu, X., Pankow, M., Huang, H.-Y. S., & Peters, K. (2018), JOURNAL OF BIOMEDICAL OPTICS, 23(11). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.23.11.116002
Numerical simulation of phase images and depth reconstruction in pulsed phase thermography
Valle, S. H., & Peters, K. (2018), In THERMOSENSE: THERMAL INFRARED APPLICATIONS XL (Vol. 10661). https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2301959
Testing and Characterization of a Fixed Wing Cross-Domain Unmanned Vehicle Operating in Aerial and Underwater Environments
Weisler, W., Stewart, W., Anderson, M. B., Peters, K., Gopalarathnam, A., & Bryant, M. (2018), IEEE JOURNAL OF OCEANIC ENGINEERING, 43(4), 969–982. https://doi.org/10.1109/JOE.2017.2742798
The effect of short range order on the thermal output and gage factor of Ni3FeCr strain gages
Kieffer, T. P., & Peters, K. (2018), Strain, 54(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/str.12253

View all publications via NC State Libraries


Design of Acoustic Couplers for Sensing Applications
US Navy-Office Of Naval Research(1/14/19 - 1/13/22)
Investigation of Lamb Wave Interactions with Guided Modes in Optical Fibers
US Navy-Office Of Naval Research(7/01/18 - 6/30/21)
3D Micro Laser Doppler Vibrometer to Characterize Ultrasonic Waves in Naval Structures
US Navy-Office Of Naval Research(6/15/18 - 6/14/19)
Optimization of Structural Lamb Wave Coupling to Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors
US Navy-Office Of Naval Research(8/16/17 - 8/15/20)
Aerodynamic Forces on Slender Body in Supersonic Cavity
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)(7/09/16 - 9/30/19)
IPA Assignment Agreement for Dr. Kara J. Peters
National Science Foundation (NSF)(9/08/15 - 5/31/18)
Spectral Profile Multiplexing of FBG Sensors to Enable Low-Power Optical Sensor Networks
National Science Foundation (NSF)(9/01/15 - 8/31/19)
High-density fiber Bragg Grating Sensor Networks for NDE of Composite Materials
American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Inc.(8/15/15 - 8/14/16)
High Repetition-Rate Shape Sensing Using Fiber Bragg Gratings (HISS)
US Dept. of Defense (DOD)(9/09/15 - 12/08/18)
REU Site: Summer Internships in Composites for Extreme Performance
National Science Foundation (NSF)(2/01/15 - 1/31/19)