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Title: A coatable, light-weight, fast-response nanocomposite sensor for the in situ acquisition of dynamic elastic disturbance : from structural vibration to ultrasonic waves
Authors: Zeng, Z
Liu, M
Xu, H
Liu, W
Liao, Y
Jin, H
Zhou, L 
Zhang, Z
Su, Z 
Keywords: Guided ultrasonic waves
Nanocomposite sensor
Structural health monitoring
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing
Source: Smart materials and structures, 2016, v. 25, no. 6, 065005 How to cite?
Journal: Smart materials and structures 
Abstract: Inspired by an innovative sensing philosophy, a light-weight nanocomposite sensor made of a hybrid of carbon black (CB)/polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) has been developed. The nanoscalar architecture and percolation characteristics of the hybrid were optimized in order to fulfil the in situ acquisition of dynamic elastic disturbance from low-frequency vibration to high-frequency ultrasonic waves. Dynamic particulate motion induced by elastic disturbance modulates the infrastructure of the CB conductive network in the sensor, with the introduction of the tunneling effect, leading to dynamic alteration in the piezoresistivity measured by the sensor. Electrical analysis, morphological characterization, and static/dynamic electromechanical response interrogation were implemented to advance our insight into the sensing mechanism of the sensor, and meanwhile facilitate understanding of the optimal percolation threshold. At the optimal threshold (∼6.5 wt%), the sensor exhibits high fidelity, a fast response, and high sensitivity to ultrafast elastic disturbance (in an ultrasonic regime up to 400 kHz), yet with an ultralow magnitude (on the order of micrometers). The performance of the sensor was evaluated against a conventional strain gauge and piezoelectric transducer, showing excellent coincidence, yet a much greater gauge factor and frequency-independent piezoresistive behavior. Coatable on a structure and deployable in a large quantity to form a dense sensor network, this nanocomposite sensor has blazed a trail for implementing in situ sensing for vibration- or ultrasonic-wave-based structural health monitoring, by striking a compromise between 'sensing cost' and 'sensing effectiveness'.
ISSN: 0964-1726
EISSN: 1361-665X
DOI: 10.1088/0964-1726/25/6/065005
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