Accurate and reliable damage characterization (i.e., damage detection, localization, and evaluation of extent) in civil structures and infrastructure is an important objective of structural health monitoring (SHM). Highly accurate and reliable characterization of damage at early stages requires continuous or quasi-continuous direct sensing of the critical parameters. Direct sensing requires deploying dense arrays of sensors, to enhance the probability that damage will result in signals that can be directly acquired by the sensors. However, coverage by dense arrays of sensors over the large areas that are of relevance represents an enormous challenge for current technologies. Large area electronics (LAE) is an emerging technology that can enable the formation of dense sensor arrays spanning large areas (several square meters) on flexible substrates. This paper explores the requirements and technology for a sensing sheet for SHM based on LAE and crystalline silicon CMOS integrated circuits (ICs). The sensing sheet contains a dense array of thin-film full-bridge resistive strain sensors, along with the electronics for strain readout, full-system self-powering, and communication. Research on several stages is presented for translating the sensing sheet to practical SHM applications. This includes experimental characterization of an individual sensor's response when exposed to cracks in concrete and steel; theoretical and experimental performance evaluation of various geometrical parameters of the sensing sheet; and development of the electronics necessary for sensor readout, power management, and sensor-data communication. The concept of direct sensing has been experimentally validated, and the potential of a sensing sheet to provide direct sensing and successful damage characterization has been evaluated in the laboratory setting. A prototype of the sensing sheet has also been successfully developed and independently characterized in the laboratory, meeting the required specifications. Thus, a sensing sheet for SHM applications shows promise both in terms of practicality and effectiveness.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering