Embedded piezoelectric transducers for ultrasonic monitoring of concrete structures

Université Libre de Bruxelles - Réseau LIEU - 10/15/2020

Description

The development of low-cost ultrasonic piezoelectric transducers to be embedded in concrete with applications in the field of non-destructive testing techniques (estimation of material properties from the very early age) and structural health monitoring (damage detection, on-line monitoring of civil infrastructure). Embedding the ultrasonic transducers in the concrete structure (at the time of construction, or later if the structure already exists) brings many advantages compared to the traditional external transducers such as a better signal-to-noise ratio due to the excellent coupling with the host material, repeatability of the measurements, protection from external factors, as well as the possibility to arrange the wave paths in a much more flexible way (not limiting the transducers to the outer surface, which is often not accessible). As the monitoring can be performed remotely, it is an ideal solution in hazardous environments such a nuclear power plants.

Benefits

Excellent signal-to-noise ratio Repeatability of the measurement Possibility of remote and automated continuous monitoring Low-cost

Innovations

The transducers can replace external transducers in laboratory applications such as the estimation of wave velocity in concrete or acoustic emission monitoring. They can be used to monitor continuously the state of concrete in long tests such as freeze-thaw cycling or drying tests, as well as very short resistance tests (cylinder compression, bending tests, …). They have also proven to be effective for on-line monitoring of civil engineering concrete infrastructure to provide real-time data to the company responsible for the maintenance, even in hazardous or inaccessible locations.

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