Parameters Affecting the Measurements of Embedded Electrical Sensors for Concrete Health Monitoring Applications


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Title: Parameters Affecting the Measurements of Embedded Electrical Sensors for Concrete Health Monitoring Applications

Author(s): F. Rajabipour and J. Weiss

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 252


Appears on pages(s): 7-22

Keywords: corrosion; durability; electrical measurement; health monitoring; sensor

Date: 3/1/2008

Traditional methods of condition assessment frequently rely on manual inspections of a structure to locate signs of aging and deterioration. In comparison, the sensor-based health monitoring shows several advantages including increased accuracy and frequency of the measurements, possibility of remote sensing, and ability to determine the rate of damage and remaining life of a structure. Although the embedded electrical sensors provide valuable measurements enabling prediction of concrete durability, proper calibration of the measurements is essential. As an example, the electrical conductivity measurements of concrete are shown to be simultaneously influenced by four parameters: (a) concrete microstructure, (b) pore fluid composition, (c) moisture content, and (d) temperature. Experimental evidence is provided suggesting that the sensor measurements must be calibrated to account for these parameters; otherwise, the results can be misleading. A combination of several sensors can provide the information needed for proper calibration of the measurements. Several sensors have been developed to monitor the durability of concrete. Among these, a series of electrical/electro-chemical sensors have been recently introduced that enable measuring the transport properties of concrete as well as monitoring the corrosion process of the reinforcing steel. In his paper, several types of such electrical sensors are introduced and the theoretical background behind each measurement is discussed. For example, it is shown that measurement of the electrical conductivity of concrete can be used to estimate the permeability, ion diffusivity, or moisture content of concrete.