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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2016, Article ID 3270916, 7 pages
Research Article

Smart Aggregate-Piezoceramic Patch Combination for Health Monitoring of Concrete Structures

1State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
2College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
3Guiyang Aluminium Magnesium Design & Research Institute Co., Ltd., Guiyang 550000, China
4Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA

Received 8 July 2015; Revised 20 November 2015; Accepted 24 November 2015

Academic Editor: Christos Riziotis

Copyright © 2016 Jinlei Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A new method combining an embedded smart aggregate and surface mounted piezoceramic patches is introduced for health monitoring of concrete structures. The smart aggregate is embedded in a concrete beam as an actuator (or transmitter), and piezoceramic patches are attached on the surface of the concrete beam as sensors. Two tests using the smart aggregate and the piezoceramic patches are conducted. The first test investigates the sensitivity of the recorded signal amplitude-frequency relation on the piezoceramic patches. To explain the significant amplitude fluctuations in the results, the possibility of resonance occurring in the piezoceramic patches in a certain frequency range is verified through finite element modeling. In the second test, a damage index is proposed to evaluate the health of concrete structures and a three-point bending test is conducted to induce damage in the concrete beam. It is observed that, with increasing severity of damage in the concrete beam, the recorded signal amplitude at the patches decreases gradually while the value of the damage index increases significantly. The experimental results show that the proposed method is an effective tool for health monitoring of concrete structures.