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Proceedings Paper

Low-power feedback-enhanced electro-mechanical impedance (FEMI) sensors
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Paper Abstract

Electro-mechanical impedance (EMI) method utilizing smart piezoelectric sensors has emerged as a promising technology for structural health monitoring in civil, mechanical and aerospace engineering. However, two major limiting factors have prevented field deployment of this method in real life. First, smart piezoelectric sensors, such as Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) patches, are highly sensitive to environmental changes such as temperature, humidity, and vibration. Secondly, bulky and expensive equipment is needed for performing impedance measurement. This paper proposes a feedback-enhanced electro-mechanical impedance (FEMI) technique for improving robustness against environmental variations and a design of a low-power EMI sensor with built-in measurement circuitries based on this new technique. The proposed FEMI technique employs a feedback scheme to amplify the peaking characteristics of the natural resonance frequencies in the EMI frequency response. The feedback loop includes a phase-locked loop (PLL) and a transimpedance amplifier (TIA). An analog EMI measurement circuit is developed to replace bulky EMI measurement instruments. To keep the power consumption low, the proposed system does not require any analog-to-digital conversion or DSP circuit blocks, but uses a simple analog mixer to multiply input and output waveforms of the PZT sensor, and then extract the EMI amplitude by passing the mixer output through a low-pass filter (LPF). The performance of the proposed FEMI sensor is verified by simulations using MATLAB. Simulated natural frequency peaks in the EMI spectrum are noticeably sharper with the feedback scheme than the one without feedback. As a result, the natural frequency shift due to any structural change can be more easily detected. To quantify the shift of these natural frequency peaks, the root mean square deviation (RMSD) of the difference between cases with and without damage is calculated. The simulation results show that the RMSD with feedback is greater than the RMSD without feedback by a factor of 3.2, when the damage is emulated by a 30% decrease in stiffness. This result confirms that the FEMI technique with the proposed EMI measurement circuits can detect structural damage with higher sensitivity compared to existing methods. Our future goal is to build a prototype for the FEMI sensors and integrate all the circuitries in a single CMOS chip.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 April 2008
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6932, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2008, 693224 (8 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.776449
Show Author Affiliations
Ji Eun Jang, Univ. of California/Santa Barbara (United States)
C. Patrick Yue, Univ. of California/Santa Barbara (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6932:
Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2008
Masayoshi Tomizuka, Editor(s)

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