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Investigation of Dynamic Properties of a Novel Capacitive-based Sensing Skin for Nondestructive Testing

A capacitive-based soft elastomeric strain sensor was recently developed by the authors for structural health monitoring applications. Arranged in a network configuration, the sensor becomes a sensing skin, where local deformations can be monitored over a global area. The sensor transduces a change in geometry into a measurable change in capacitance, which can be converted into strain using a previously developed electromechanical model. Prior studies have demonstrated limitations of this electromechanical model for dynamic excitations beyond 15 Hz, because of a loss in linearity in the sensor’s response. In this paper, the dynamic behavior beyond 15 Hz is further studied, and a new version of the electromechanical model is proposed to accommodate dynamic strain measurements up to 40 Hz. This behavior is characterized by subjecting the sensor to a frequency sweep and identifying possible sources of nonlinearities beyond 15 Hz. Results show possible frequency dependence of the materials’ Poisson’s ratios, which are successfully modeled and integrated into the electromechanical model. This demonstrates that the proposed sensor can be used for monitoring and evaluation of structural responses up to 40 Hz, a range covering the vast majority of the dominating frequency responses of civil infrastructures.

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