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Structural health monitoring of irradiated high-density polyethylene samples with electrical resistance tomography

A Correction to this article was published on 03 September 2021

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Abstract

This work presents preliminary results of a multifunctional lightweight material for radiation sensing and protection. The proposed concept is built with off-the-shelf components: molded high-density polyethylene (HDPE) sheets and a commercial carbon black coating designed as a shield for electromagnetic interference (EMI). The HDPE is a hydrogen-rich lightweight material that is commonly used for radiation protection. The carbon black coating is a non-structural, electrically conductive coating that serves here not only the purpose of structural health monitor, but also protects the underlying HDPE structure. The carbon black-coated area in the HDPE samples was instrumented with electrodes for electrical resistance tomography (ERT), the structural monitoring method that we propose in this work. Two types of radiation (UV-C radiation for 24 h and protons with a 50 Gy dose, lethal to humans) were used separately, as representative of a harsh space environment. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was applied to selected samples to determine the presence of chemical damage as a result of the radiation exposure. The results support this innovative proof of concept for further investigation in the area of radiation protection and monitoring.

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Change history

Notes

  1. Only five coatings were possible for the samples to be irradiated by protons, due to the short-notice availability of the nuclear reactor (48 h notice) versus the lead time of a new shipment of carbon black spray (out of stock at the time).

  2. Soldering was not possible because the heat of the iron melts HDPE.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge funding from the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, agreement #NNA17BF68A and from Professor Stephen K. Robinson (University of California, Davis). The authors thank for their help undergraduate student researchers Linda Wu, Max Fors, Sean Comick, Duha Bader, graduate student researchers Alexander Fung, Bradley Chew, Kanotha Kamau-Devers, Göktug Gonel; professors Sabbie Miller, Lance Halsted, Bassam Younis and Ricardo Castro, and Research and Development Engineer Andy Cobb.

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Correspondence to Valeria La Saponara.

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Appendix 1

Appendix 1

We report results for the opposite injection pattern and of the parametric study with different injection current levels of several representative samples.

Figure 12 shows sample A1 irradiated by UV-C. The opposite injection pattern misses the localized features and the decrease of electrical conductivity due to the irradiation of the central region of the sample (~ 20 mm), that were instead captured by the adjacent injection pattern (Figure 7).

Figure 12
figure 12

Conductivity change σconditioned—σbaseline (S/mm) for sample A1 irradiated by UV-C. Opposite current injection pattern, (left) 20 mA and (right) 30 mA

Figures 1315 present ERT maps with adjacent injection currents and different current levels in representative samples.

Figure 13
figure 13

Conductivity change σconditioned—σbaseline (S/mm) for sample A1 subjected to UV-C radiation; adjacent current injections, from 20 to 50 mA

Figure 14
figure 14

Conductivity change σconditioned—σbaseline (S/mm) for three samples after UV-C irradiation: (top, left to right) samples A2, A3, and A6 with 30 mA adjacent injection; (bottom, left to right) samples A2, A3, and A6 with 50 mA adjacent current injection.

Figure 15
figure 15

Conductivity change σconditioned—σbaseline (S/mm) for three B samples after UV-C irradiation: (top, left to right) samples B1, B11, and B12 with 30 mA adjacent current injection; (bottom, left to right) samples B1, B11, and B12 with 50 mA adjacent current injection. Samples B11 and B12 (center and right) were irradiated at the same time, indicating a misplacement of the foil around the exposed region of interest

To investigate potential trends in the ERT maps’ colorbar values in UV-C irradiated samples of the same thickness (9.525 mm for samples A, 6.350 mm for samples B) and different thickness (samples A compared to samples B), boxplots were computed for samples A injected with (representative) 30 mA and 50 mA, and samples B injected with 30 mA and 50 mA. The boxplots revealed that the variation of colorbar values (maximum and minimum in each colorbar) was statistically the same for all samples (Fig. 16). The UV-C radiation is concentrated in 1/10 of the carbon black coating thickness and should not be affected by the thickness of the HDPE samples.

Figure 16
figure 16

Boxplots studying the values of the ERT maps’ colorbar (resolution) in different samples (samples A with thickness 9.525 mm, samples B with thickness 6.350 mm), with injected current values (30 mA and 50 mA, both with adjacent pattern), after UV-C radiation

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Rastogi, S., Bartolo, D., Gurses, S. et al. Structural health monitoring of irradiated high-density polyethylene samples with electrical resistance tomography. J Mater Sci 56, 17824–17842 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-021-06398-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-021-06398-9