A capacitance based large-area electronics strain sensor, termed soft elastomeric capacitor (SEC) has shown various advantages in infrastructure sensing. The ability to cover large area enables to reflect mesoscale structural deformation, highly stretchable, easy to fabricate and low-cost feature allow full-scale field application for civil structure. As continuing efforts to realize full-scale civil infrastructure monitoring, in this study, new sensor board has been developed to implement the capacitive strain sensing capability into wireless sensor networks. The SEC has extremely low-level capacitance changes as responses to structural deformation; hence it requires high-gain and low-noise performance. For these requirements, AC (alternating current) based Wheatstone bridge circuit has been developed in combination a bridge balancer, two-step amplifiers, AM-demodulation, and series of filtering circuits to convert low-level capacitance changes to readable analog voltages. The new sensor board has been designed to work with the wireless platform that uses Illinois Structural Health Monitoring Project (ISHMP) wireless sensing software Toolsuite and allow 16bit lownoise data acquisition. The performances of new wireless capacitive strain sensor have been validated series of laboratory calibration tests. An example application for fatigue crack monitoring is also presented.
Jong-Hyun Jeong, Jian Xu, Hongki Jo, Jian Li, Xiangxiong Kong, William Collins, Caroline Bennett, and Simon Laflamme, "Capacitance-based wireless strain sensor development," Proc. SPIE 10598, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2018, 105980S (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 06, 2018; Published: 27 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2296716.
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