Influence of the gauge length on the accuracy of long-gauge sensors employed in monitoring of prismatic beams

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Depending on the geometric basis of measurement (gauge length), discrete strain sensors used in structural monitoring of civil engineering structures can be considered as short-gauge sensors or long-gauge sensors. Long-gauge sensors measure average strain over the gauge lengths and are used for global monitoring of structures, in particular, those built of inhomogeneous materials. However, the strain distribution along the sensor's gauge length may be nonlinear and the measured average strain value that is commonly attributed to the midpoint of the sensor may be different from the real value of strain at that point. Consequently, excessively long sensors may feature significant errors in measurement. However, short-gauge sensors are more susceptible to other types of measurement error, most notably, error caused by discontinuities (open cracks) distributed in the monitored material. Thus an optimum gauge length is to be found. The error in average strain measurement inherent to the sensor's gauge length introduced by the strain distribution and discontinuities in the monitored material is modelled for the most common applications met in civil engineering practice. The modelling takes into account the geometric properties of the monitored structure and various load cases. Guidelines for the selection of an appropriate gauge length are proposed, and tables for measurement error estimation are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035206
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Concrete and steel structures
  • Fibre-optic sensors
  • Long-gauge sensors
  • Measurement error
  • Structural health monitoring


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