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Proceedings Paper

Free-standing carbon nanotube composite sensing skin for distributed strain sensing in structures
Author(s): Andrew R. Burton; Kaede Minegishi; Masahiro Kurata; Jerome P. Lynch
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Paper Abstract

The technical challenges of managing the health of critical infrastructure systems necessitate greater structural sensing capabilities. Among these needs is the ability for quantitative, spatial damage detection on critical structural components. Advances in material science have now opened the door for novel and cost-effective spatial sensing solutions specially tailored for damage detection in structures. However, challenges remain before spatial damage detection can be realized. Some of the technical challenges include sensor installations and extensive signal processing requirements. This work addresses these challenges by developing a patterned carbon nanotube composite thin film sensor whose pattern has been optimized for measuring the spatial distribution of strain. The carbon nanotube-polymer nanocomposite sensing material is fabricated on a flexible polyimide substrate using a layer-by-layer deposition process. The thin film sensors are then patterned into sensing elements using optical lithography processes common to microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies. The sensor array is designed as a series of sensing elements with varying width to provide insight on the limitations of such patterning and implications of pattern geometry on sensing signals. Once fabrication is complete, the substrate and attached sensor are epoxy bonded to a poly vinyl composite (PVC) bar that is then tested with a uniaxial, cyclic load pattern and mechanical response is characterized. The fabrication processes are then utilized on a larger-scale to develop and instrument a component-specific sensing skin in order to observe the strain distribution on the web of a steel beam. The instrumented beam is part of a larger steel beam-column connection with a concrete slab in composite action. The beam-column subassembly is laterally loaded and strain trends in the web are observed using the carbon nanotube composite sensing skin. The results are discussed in the context of understanding the properties of the thin film sensor and how it may be advanced toward structural sensing applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 April 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9061, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2014, 906123 (10 April 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2045258
Show Author Affiliations
Andrew R. Burton, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Kaede Minegishi, Kyoto Univ. (Japan)
Masahiro Kurata, Kyoto Univ. (Japan)
Jerome P. Lynch, Univ. of Michigan (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9061:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2014
Jerome P. Lynch; Kon-Well Wang; Hoon Sohn, Editor(s)

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