There is considerable demand for structural health monitoring (SHM) at locations where there are substantial radiation fields such as nuclear reactor components, dry cask storage canister, irradiated fuel assemblies, etc. Piezoelectric wafer active sensors (PWAS) have been emerged as one of the major SHM sensing technologies. In order to use PWAS to perform SHM in nuclear environment, radiation influence on sensor and sensing capability needs to be investigated to assure the reliability of the PWAS based method. Radiation may cause degradation or even complete failure of sensors. Gamma radiation is one of the major radiation sources near the nuclear source. Therefore, experimental investigation was completed on the gamma radiation endurance of piezoelectric sensors. The irradiation test was done in a Co-60 Gamma Irradiator. Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) and Gallium Orthophosphate (GaPO4) PWAS were exposed under gamma radiation at 100 Gy/hr rate for 20 hours. Electro-mechanical (E/M) admittance signatures and electrical capacitance were measured to evaluate the PWAS performance before and after every 4 hours exposure to gamma radiation. PWAS were kept at room temperature for 6 days after each 4 hours radiation exposure to investigate the effect of time on PWAS by gamma radiation. It was found that, PZT-PWAS show variation in resonance frequency for both in plane and thickness mode E/M admittance. Where, the changes in resonance amplitudes are larger for PZT-PWAS. GaPO4-PWAS E/M impedance/admittance spectra don’t show any reasonable change after gamma irradiation. A degradation behavior of electrical properties in the PZT-PWAS was observed. Capacitance value of PZT-PWAS decreases from 3.2 nF to 3.07 nF after exposing to gamma radiation for 20 hours at 100Gy/hour. This degradation behavior of electrical properties may be explained by the pinning of domain walls by some radiation induced effect. GaPO4-PWAS doesn’t show reasonable degradation in electrical properties. GaPO4 has good radiation endurance, although amplitude sensitivity is relatively low.
Mohammad Faisal Haider, Bin Lin, Lingyu Yu, and Victor Giurgiutiu, "Sensing capabilities of piezoelectric wafer active sensors in extreme nuclear environment," Proc. SPIE 10169, Nondestructive Characterization and Monitoring of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, and Civil Infrastructure 2017, 101691Z (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 29, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2260162.
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