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Design and Conception Using Smart Composite Materials

Advanced Composite Materials such as carbon fiber composites are increasingly used in the aerospace and defence industries unlike in civil engineering where their use were limited for many years primarily due to economic issues. Key advantages of advanced composites, such as design freedom and tailored characteristics, high strength/weight ratios (which significantly exceed those of conventional civil engineering materials) and a high corrosion-resistance in most civil engineering environments, are lost in high material and manufacturing costs (particularly in direct comparison with conventional structural materials such as steel, concrete, or masonry). In this article, structures based on composites will be briefly introduced as well as nano-sensors that will surely bring a significant technological jump in the near future unless some issues are overcome. The objective of this contribution is to provide the readers with an opinion on how double structural health monitoring techniques can help continuous inspection of composite bridge structures. The cables are used as a working example of structures available in existing bridges.

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