Integrated Sensor Arrays Based on PiezoPaint Technology for SHM Applications

Karl Elkjaer, Konstantin Astafiev, Erling Ringgaard, and Tomasz Zawada
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phmc_13_051.pdf742.94 KBSeptember 11, 2013 - 1:46am

Recent progress in development of new functional materials that are flexible and can be processed at very low temperatures (below 100 °C) opens a new opportunity for applications, such as non-destructive evaluation (NDE), or structural health monitoring (SHM) by applying active materials directly on the structures made out of variety of materials, e.g. metals (aluminum), plastics, and polymers, including CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer).
Nowadays, there are numbers of piezoelectric polymer materials available (e.g. polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) family materials) that can be used for such applications, however, these polymer materials typically show low piezoelectric activity, are difficult to pattern and to integrate with the structures, and pose several practical limitations in terms of wiring and processing.
This paper presents sensor arrays based on flexible piezoelectric material – PiezoPaint™. The newly developed material exhibits relatively high sensitivity (d33 coefficient up to 45 pC/N), extremely low processing temperatures (< 120 °C), and high compliance in the cured state, enabling direct deposition of acoustic/vibration sensor arrays on structures to be monitored by means of screen- or pad-printing. The printed sensors have been applied for impact detection where four-element arrays and fully integrated wiring system has been deposited directly on aluminum as well as CFRP plates. The presented results show very good performance in terms of sensitivity, flexibility of usage, and ultra-low weight, making PiezoPaint™ technology an attractive alternative for SHM especially in aerospace applications.

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Submission Keywords: 
piezoelectric sensor
sensor array
integrated sensor
impact detection
acoustic sensor
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