Cracks, the important factor of structure failure, reflect structural damage directly. Thus, it is significant to realize distributed, real-time crack monitoring. To overcome the shortages of traditional crack detectors, such as the inconvenience of installation, vulnerability, and low measurement range, etc., an improved topology-based cable sensor with a shallow helical groove on the outside surface of a coaxial cable is proposed in this paper. The sensing mechanism, fabrication method, and performances are investigated both numerically and experimentally. Crack monitoring experiments of the reinforced beams are also presented in this paper, illustrating the utility of this sensor in practical applications. These studies show that the sensor can identify a minimum crack width of 0.02 mm and can measure multiple cracks with a spatial resolution of 3 mm. In addition, it is also proved that the sensor performs well to detect the initiation and development of cracks until structure failure.
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