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Disbond detection with piezoelectric wafer active sensors in RC structures strengthened with FRP composite overlays

Victor Giurgiutiu1, Kent Harries2, Michael Petrou2, Joel Bost1 and Josh B. Quattlebaum2

  1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of South Carolina,USA

  2. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of South Carolina,USA

Abstract: The capability of embedded piezoelectric wafer active sensors (PWAS) to perform in-situ nondestructive evaluation (NDE) for structural health monitoring (SHM) of reinforced concrete (RC) structures strengthened with fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite overlays is explored. First, the disbond detection method were developed on coupon specimens consisting of concrete blocks covered with an FRP composite layer. It was found that the presence of a disbond crack drastically changes the electromechanical (E/M) impedance spectrum measured at the PWAS terminals. The spectral changes depend on the distance between the PWAS and the crack tip. Second, large scale experiments were conducted on a RC beam strengthened with carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite overlay. The beam was subject to an accelerated fatigue load regime in a three-point bending configuration up to a total of 807,415 cycles. During these fatigue tests, the CFRP overlay experienced disbonding beginning at about 500,000 cycles. The PWAS were able to detect the disbonding before it could be reliably seen by visual inspection. Good correlation between the PWAS readings and the position and extent of disbond damage was observed. These preliminary results demonstrate the potential of PWAS technology for SHM of RC structures strengthened with FRP composite overlays.

Keywords: FRP composite overlays; composite strengthening and rehabilitation; structural health monitoring; piezoelectric wafer active sensors; E/M impedance; aging infrastructure; disbond damage; PWAS

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Copyright 2009 IEM. Journal of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as described below, without written permission from the Publisher. Copying of articles is not permitted except for personal and internal use, to the extent permitted by national copyright law, or under the terms of a license issued by the National Reproduction Rights Organization of China.