Real time non-destructive structural health monitoring and damage assessment of concrete structures using smart self-sensing cement based hybrid nanocomposites.
The aim of the Nano Cement Sensor Project is to develop cement based nanocomposites with “smart” characteristics that can be used as sensors embedded in a concrete structure for health and structural integrity monitoring.
Concrete is the most widely used construction material; however, cracking can severely alter its performance making the development of innovative ways to structural health monitor (SHM) a necessity. Real-time monitoring of structures can fulfill the need for safer infrastructure reducing at the same time maintenance and repair costs by early diagnosis and treatment of durability problems.
An innovative idea is based on the concept that the material itself can be used to monitor the performance of an in-service structure, by measuring its electrical resistance.
Usage of innovative nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs)
Cementitious materials are nonconductive materials, therefore, the use of conductive reinforcement is necessary to provide the matrix with the capability to transfer electric current through its body. To achieve this, the proposed research focuses on reinforcing cementitious materials at the nanoscale, where cracks initiate, by using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs), as well as at the microscale, by employing carbon fibers.
Current structural health monitoring technologies usually involve high-cost attached or embedded sensors with limited service life that are application specific and provide information on particular locations of the structure. The implementation of these sensors is often limited by their size and sometimes, especially in the case of embedded sensors, downgrades the material’s mechanical performance.
Nano cement sensors embedded into the concrete structure at critical locations providing non-destructive strain or damage monitoring in real time.
- Reassuring public safety and reduction of maintenance and repair costs
- Real time information on the interior of the structure
- A sensor fully compatible with the surrounding concrete structure
- A sensor with extended life span compared to the current technologies
- Applicable in any type of structure made from concrete
We would like to acknowledge the financial support of Stavros Niarchos Foundation.