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Sensitivity of PZT Impedance Sensors for Damage Detection of Concrete Structures

1,*, 1,* and 2
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798
Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, School of Engineering and Electronics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2008, 8(1), 327-346;
Received: 23 November 2007 / Accepted: 15 January 2008 / Published: 21 January 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Urban Environmental Monitoring)
PDF [900 KB, uploaded 21 June 2014]


Piezoelectric ceramic Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) based electro-mechanicalimpedance (EMI) technique for structural health monitoring (SHM) has been successfullyapplied to various engineering systems. However, fundamental research work on thesensitivity of the PZT impedance sensors for damage detection is still in need. In thetraditional EMI method, the PZT electro-mechanical (EM) admittance (inverse of theimpedance) is used as damage indicator, which is difficult to specify the effect of damage onstructural properties. This paper uses the structural mechanical impedance (SMI) extractedfrom the PZT EM admittance signature as the damage indicator. A comparison study on thesensitivity of the EM admittance and the structural mechanical impedance to the damages ina concrete structure is conducted. Results show that the SMI is more sensitive to the damagethan the EM admittance thus a better indicator for damage detection. Furthermore, this paperproposes a dynamic system consisting of a number of single-degree-of-freedom elementswith mass, spring and damper components to model the SMI. A genetic algorithm isemployed to search for the optimal value of the unknown parameters in the dynamic system.An experiment is carried out on a two-storey concrete frame subjected to base vibrations thatsimulate earthquake. A number of PZT sensors are regularly arrayed and bonded to the framestructure to acquire PZT EM admittance signatures. The relationship between the damageindex and the distance of the PZT sensor from the damage is studied. Consequently, thesensitivity of the PZT sensors is discussed and their sensing region in concrete is derived. View Full-Text
Keywords: PZT; structural health monitoring; electro-mechanical impedance; damage; concrete PZT; structural health monitoring; electro-mechanical impedance; damage; concrete
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Yang, Y.; Hu, Y.; Lu, Y. Sensitivity of PZT Impedance Sensors for Damage Detection of Concrete Structures. Sensors 2008, 8, 327-346.

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