Sustainable Piezoresistive Strain Sensors and Multiplexed Arrays for Transportation Infrastructures in Extreme Environments

Piezoresistive strain sensors and multiplexed arrays cover a finite area of the surface of transportation infrastructures, and provide the spatial distribution of strain. These sensors and multiplexed arrays are particularly suitable for curvilinear surfaces with sharp corners, which usually have stress or strain concentrations and require accurate sensing. In addition, the gauge factor of piezoresistive strain sensors is more than two orders of magnitude higher than conventional strain sensors. They can measure much more accurately the maximum strain in the critical components (e.g., sharp corners, complex shapes) of the transportation infrastructure experiences. The author has applied the stretchable and flexible electronic technology to sensors for structural health monitoring of transportation infrastructures. The large, flexible and high-sensitivity sensor arrays enable rapid, accurate and robust measurement of strain distribution on any surface. This may lead to accurate damage assessment of transportation infrastructures (e.g., bridges, highways) and prediction of service life, which is important to the highway structures portion of National Strategy of Surface Transportation Research identified by USDOT research goals. The author has developed materials, integration strategies, mechanical models and system demonstrations of distributed networks of piezoresistive strain sensors based on ultrathin single-crystalline silicon membranes on thin plastic substrates (i.e. polyimide). Such systems offer high sensitivity (i.e. piezoresistive coefficient or gauge factor) of single-crystalline silicon while providing lightweight construction and mechanical flexibility. By using Wheatstone bridge configurations for the sensors and coupling them to multiplexing diodes, this technology can be scaled to large-area, integrated monitors with spatial mapping capabilities that also naturally provide compensation for variations in temperature. They overcome the limitations of current sensors, and thereby open up new opportunities for structural health monitoring of transportation infrastructures

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Northwestern University, Evanston

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2145 Sheridan Road
    Evanston, IL  United States  60208

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Huang, Yonggang
  • Publication Date: 2012-10


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 10p

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01493483
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: Sep 4 2013 4:50PM