Very dense arrays of sensors for reliable and accurate damage identification

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Problem of aging civil infrastructure, combined with lack of funds for its timely revitalization creates a rapidly increasing need for reliable, robust, and low-cost Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). Important objective of SHM is an accurate identification of unusual structural behaviors (i.e., detection, localization of its source, and evaluation of its extent) at early stage that can serve as the basis for evaluation of structural health and performance. This paper proposes direct sensing as an approach to meet this objective, and presents research on a novel technology, called Large Area Electronics, that enables it. Highly accurate and reliable identification of unusual behaviors at early stage can be achieved if critical parameters are continuously or quasi-continuously directly monitored at virtually every point over the concerned area of structure, which is the core of direct sensing approach. Unusual behavior will result in discernable change in the observed parameter that can be directly acquired by the sensors. Hence, direct sensing requires implementation of very dense arrays of sensors, which will enhance the probability of unusual behavior being captured by the sensors. However, current technologies are not suitable for coverage of large areas of structures with dense arrays of sensors due to various challenges imposed by the size of monitored area and the logistic of data management. This paper identified Large Area Electronics (LAE) as potential technology that can enable scalable implementation of very dense arrays of strain sensors over large areas of structures. The array of sensors is combined with functional electronics and integrated circuits (IC) into a two-dimensional sensing sheet. Sensors and functional electronics are patterned over flexible substrate that enables conformability to irregular surfaces of the structures. ICs enable readout, data processing and analysis, communication, and power management. Power harvesting is enabled by integrated flexible photovoltaic. A prototype of the sensing sheet was successfully created and characterized. The concept of direct sensing was then experimentally validated in the laboratory settings. It was found that a sensing sheet for SHM applications shows promise both in terms of effectiveness and practicality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2015
Event7th International Conference on Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure, SHMII 2015 - Torino, Italy
Duration: Jul 1 2015Jul 3 2015


Other7th International Conference on Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure, SHMII 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence


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