Recent advances in materials science and engineering have enabled the fabrication of structural materials with enhanced functionalities. One of those functionalities is the ability to self-sense, where the material is engineered to transduce deformations into measurable or observable changes. Such self-sensing capabilities can be leveraged to automate the nondestructive evaluation (NDE) of structural components, also known as structural health monitoring (SHM). This paper provides a tutorial on self-sensing materials that can be used for NDE, with a particular focus on those based on resistance and capacitance measurement principles. The electromechanical principles used in fabricating self-sensing materials are reviewed for both resistance- and capacitance-based self-sensing materials. Next, two example materials are discussed in more detail: a self-sensing concrete based on electrical resistance and a self-sensing carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) based on electrical capacitance. The paper concludes with an example of a system-level application consisting of a masonry building equipped with smart bricks, with a focus on linking signals to damage discovery and condition assessment.
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