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Sensors 2018, 18(3), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18030831

An Experimental Study on Static and Dynamic Strain Sensitivity of Embeddable Smart Concrete Sensors Doped with Carbon Nanotubes for SHM of Large Structures

1
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Perugia, Perugia 06125, Italy
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010, USA
3
Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010, USA
4
Department of Continuum Mechanics and Structural Analysis, School of Engineering, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla 41004, Spain
5
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010, USA
6
Department of Mechanics, Campus de Rabanales, University of Cordoba, Cordoba 14014, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 February 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
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Abstract

The availability of new self-sensing cement-based strain sensors allows the development of dense sensor networks for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of reinforced concrete structures. These sensors are fabricated by doping cement-matrix mterials with conductive fillers, such as Multi Walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs), and can be embedded into structural elements made of reinforced concrete prior to casting. The strain sensing principle is based on the multifunctional composites outputting a measurable change in their electrical properties when subjected to a deformation. Previous work by the authors was devoted to material fabrication, modeling and applications in SHM. In this paper, we investigate the behavior of several sensors fabricated with and without aggregates and with different MWCNT contents. The strain sensitivity of the sensors, in terms of fractional change in electrical resistivity for unit strain, as well as their linearity are investigated through experimental testing under both quasi-static and sine-sweep dynamic uni-axial compressive loadings. Moreover, the responses of the sensors when subjected to destructive compressive tests are evaluated. Overall, the presented results contribute to improving the scientific knowledge on the behavior of smart concrete sensors and to furthering their understanding for SHM applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: smart concrete sensors; self-sensing materials; structural health monitoring; strain sensitivity; carbon nanotubes; cement-based materials smart concrete sensors; self-sensing materials; structural health monitoring; strain sensitivity; carbon nanotubes; cement-based materials
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Meoni, A.; D’Alessandro, A.; Downey, A.; García-Macías, E.; Rallini, M.; Materazzi, A.L.; Torre, L.; Laflamme, S.; Castro-Triguero, R.; Ubertini, F. An Experimental Study on Static and Dynamic Strain Sensitivity of Embeddable Smart Concrete Sensors Doped with Carbon Nanotubes for SHM of Large Structures. Sensors 2018, 18, 831.

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