Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 9–25 | Cite as

Carbon Nanotube Sensing Skins for Spatial Strain and Impact Damage Identification

  • Kenneth J. Loh
  • Tsung-Chin Hou
  • Jerome P. Lynch
  • Nicholas A. Kotov


Impact damage, excessive loading, and corrosion have been identified as critical and long-term problems that constantly threaten the integrity and reliability of structural systems (e.g., civil infrastructures, aircrafts, and naval vessels). While a variety of sensing transducers have been proposed for structural health monitoring, most sensors only offer measurement of structural behavior at discrete structural locations. Here, a conformable carbon nanotube-polyelectrolyte sensing skin fabricated via the layer-by-layer technique is proposed to monitor strain and impact damage over spatial areas. Specifically, electrical impedance tomographical (EIT) conductivity mapping techniques are employed to offer two-dimensional damage maps from which damage location and severity can be easily and accurately quantified. This study deposits carbon nanotube-based sensing skins upon metallic structural plates with electrodes installed along the plate boundary. Based on boundary electrical measurements, EIT mapping captures both strain in the underlying substrate as well as damage (e.g., permanent deformation and cracking) introduced using an impact apparatus.


Carbon nanotube nanocomposite Electrical impedance tomography Impact damage detection Layer-by-layer Sensing skin Structural health monitoring 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth J. Loh
    • 1
  • Tsung-Chin Hou
    • 2
  • Jerome P. Lynch
    • 2
  • Nicholas A. Kotov
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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