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Health Monitoring of Bolted Spherical Joint Connection Based on Active Sensing Technique Using Piezoceramic Transducers

1
School of Civil Engineering, Qingdao University of Technology, Qingdao 266033, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, Liaoning, China
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77004, USA
4
College of Civil Engineering, Shenyang Jianzhu University, Shenyang 110168, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2018, 18(6), 1727; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18061727
Received: 19 April 2018 / Revised: 19 May 2018 / Accepted: 23 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Piezoelectric Transducers and Applications)
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Abstract

Bolted spherical joints are widely used to form space steel structures. The stiffness and load capacity of the structures are affected by the looseness of bolted spherical joint connections in the structures. The looseness of the connections, which can be caused by fabrication error, low modeling accuracy, and “false twist” in the installation process, may negatively impact the load capacity of the structure and even lead to severe accidents. Furthermore, it is difficult to detect bolted spherical joint connection looseness from the outside since the bolts connect spheres with rods together from the inside. Active sensing methods are proposed in this paper to monitor the tightness status of the bolted spherical connection using piezoceramic transducers. A triangle-on-triangle offset grid composed of bolted spherical joints and steel tube bars was fabricated as the specimen and was used to validate the active sensing methods. Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) patches were used as sensors and actuators to monitor the bolted spherical joint tightness status. One PZT patch mounted on the central bolted sphere at the upper chord was used as an actuator to generate a stress wave. Another PZT patch mounted on the bar was used as a sensor to detect the propagated waves through the bolted spherical connection. The looseness of the connection can impact the energy of the stress wave propagated through the connection. The wavelet packet analysis and time reversal (TR) method were used to quantify the energy of the transmitted signal between the PZT patches by which the tightness status of the connection can be detected. In order to verify the effectiveness, repeatability, and consistency of the proposed methods, the experiments were repeated six times in different bolted spherical connection positions. The experimental results showed that the wavelet packet analysis and TR method are effective in detecting the tightness status of the connections. The proposed active monitoring method using PZT transducers can monitor the tightness levels of bolted spherical joint connections efficiently and shows its potential to guarantee the safety of space steel structures in construction and service. View Full-Text
Keywords: space steel structures; bolted spherical joint connection; Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT); tightness status; active sensing technique; wavelet packet analysis; time reversal method space steel structures; bolted spherical joint connection; Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT); tightness status; active sensing technique; wavelet packet analysis; time reversal method
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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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Xu, J.; Wang, C.; Li, H.; Zhang, C.; Hao, J.; Fan, S. Health Monitoring of Bolted Spherical Joint Connection Based on Active Sensing Technique Using Piezoceramic Transducers. Sensors 2018, 18, 1727.

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