Advertisement

Design and performance analysis of an embedded wireless sensor for monitoring concrete curing and structural health

  • William Quinn
  • Philip Angove
  • John Buckley
  • John Barrett
  • Ger Kelly
Original Paper

Abstract

The monitoring of the properties of concrete introduces many challenges to the design of any non-destructive sensing system. The advance in recent years of wireless technologies has allowed the development of miniaturised sensing systems, which have now reached a stage of development that allows them to be embedded into concrete. This paper describes the design and performance analysis, under replicated building site conditions, of an embeddable wireless sensing node for monitoring concrete curing and structural health. Wireless sensors with temperature and relative humidity measurement capabilities were designed with onboard communication using the 433 MHz ISM band and embedded into concrete. Testing, which replicated on-site conditions, was carried out on the sensors to determine what the effect of the concrete itself, the steel reinforcement, and steel backed formwork had on the transmission of data. The transmission distance and reliability of receiving data was quantified. Test results confirm that it is possible to deploy an embedded sensor system and transmit live data from the embedded sensor to a data acquisition system located outside the concrete. Preliminary results show that steel backed formwork reduces the transmission distance of the sensors to 3.5 m from 5 m without formwork. Analysis of the data from the sensor showed that, while temperature readings were reliable, the method of measuring relative humidity, using a shielded humidity sensor, may not be suitable for use over the full lifetime of the structure. Accordingly, the electromechanical impedance (EMI) method was enhanced to allow it be used in an embedded system incorporating the AD5933 impedance chip. The EMI method has been successfully applied to monitor the strength development and deterioration of concrete but limited investigation has been carried out into advancing the method for deployment in embedded sensing systems. Analysis of the strength development of freshly mixed concrete and the effects of loading on the response of the sensor show that it is possible to monitor both the strength development and subsequent deterioration of concrete by monitoring the reactance antiresonant frequency shift and peak resistance of a piezoelectric material embedded into concrete. Analysis of the reactance antiresonant frequency shift showed that the technique successfully monitored the compressive strength development of the concrete structure, while monitoring the reactance antiresonant frequency shift in conjunction with the resistance peak provided important information on the condition of the concrete under loading conditions. This is believed to be the first time that the EMI method for monitoring concrete curing and structural health has been demonstrated for use in an embedded wireless sensing system.

Keywords

Concrete Quality control Maintenance and inspection Embedded wireless sensors Electromechanical impedance method 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded in part by the Technological Sector Research Strand III 2006 project “Smart Systems Integration” funded by the Higher Education Authority. Access to the humidity chamber and development of the sensing nodes was funded under the Tyndall National Access Program project no. 183 “Smart System for Monitoring Concrete Curing & Structural Health”. The authors would like to acknowledge the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis in Cork Institute of Technology for providing the SEM facility, and also the technical staff of CIT including Jim Morgan and Maggie Shorten in the Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Department and Tim Forde and Ger Rasmussen of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

References

  1. 1.
    Saafi M, Romine P (2004) Embedded MEMS for health monitoring and management of civil infrastructure. SPIEGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Grasley ZC, Lange DA, D’Ambrosia MD (2006) Internal relative humidity and drying stress gradients in concrete. Mater Struct 39(9):901–909CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sokoll T, Jacob AF (2007) In situ moisture detection system with a vector network analyser. Meas Sci Technol 18(4):1088–1093CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jannsen B, Jacob AF (2001) A miniaturized resonant moisture sensor. In: Proceedings of the 31st European microwave conference, London, pp 269–276Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Andringa M et al (2007) In situ measurement of conductivity and temperature during concrete curing using passive wireless sensors. In: Sensors and smart structures technologies for civil, mechanical, and aerospace systems. Proc. SPIEGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Elvin NG, Lajnef N, Elvin AA (2006) Feasibility of structural monitoring with vibration powered sensors. Smart Mater Struct 15(4):977–986CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Park G et al (2008) Powering wireless SHM sensor nodes through energy harvesting. In: Priya S, Inman DJ (eds) Energy harvesting technologies. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lynch JP, Loh KJ (2006) A summary review of wireless sensors and sensor networks for structural health monitoring. Shock Vib Dig 38(2):91–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mascarenas DL et al (2007) Development of an impedance-based wireless sensor node for structural health monitoring. Smart Mater Struct 16(6):2137–2145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Shams KMZ, Ali M (2007) Wireless power transmission to a buried sensor in concrete. IEEE Sens J 7(11–12):1573–1577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Qin L, Li ZJ (2008) Monitoring of cement hydration using embedded piezoelectric transducers. Smart Mater Struct 17(5)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tjin SC et al (2002) Application of quasi-distributed fibre Bragg grating sensors in reinforced concrete structures. Meas SciTechnol 13(4):583–589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Song F et al (2008) On the study of surface wave propagation in concrete structures using a piezoelectric actuator/sensor system. Smart Mater Struct 17(5)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Song GB, Gu HC, Mo YL (2008) Smart aggregates: multi-functional sensors for concrete structures—a tutorial and a review. Smart Mater Struct 17(3)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Brockmann TH (2009) Theory of adaptive fiber composites from piezoelectric material behavior to dynamics of rotating structures. (SpringerLink) xviii, pp 219Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bhalla S, Soh CK (2004) Structural health monitoring by piezo-impedance transducers. I: Modeling. J Aerosp Eng 17(4):154–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Overly TGS et al (2008) Development of an extremely compact impedance-based wireless sensing device. Smart Mater Struct 17(6)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Mascarenas DDL, Park G, Farrar CR (2005) Monitoring of bolt preload using piezoelectric active devices. SPIEGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Tseng KK, Wang L (2004) Smart piezoelectric transducers for in situ health monitoring of concrete. Smart Mater Struct 13(5):1017–1024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Chen Y, Wen Y, Li P (2006) Characterization of PZT ceramic transducer embedded in concrete. Sens Actuators A Phys 128(1):116–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Shin SW et al (2008) Piezoelectric sensor based nondestructive active monitoring of strength gain in concrete. Smart Mater Struct 17(5)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Tawie R, Lee HK (2010) Monitoring the strength development in concrete by EMI sensing technique. Construct Build Mater 24(9):1746–1753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
  24. 24.
    Wu J, Wu W (2009) Study on wireless sensing for monitoring the corrosion of reinforcement in concrete structures. Measurement 43(3):375–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Bogena HR et al (2009) Hybrid wireless underground sensor networks: quantification of signal attenuation in soil. Vadose Zone J 8(3):755–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Silva AR, Vuran MC (2010) Development of a testbed for wireless underground sensor networks. Eurasip J Wireless Commun NetworkGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Stuntebeck EP, Pompili D, Melodia T (2006) Wireless underground sensor networks using commodity terrestrial motes. In: 2nd IEEE Workshop on Wireless mesh networks. WiMeshGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lampkin DJ (2010) Resolving barometric pressure waves in seasonal snowpack with a prototype-embedded wireless sensor network. Hydrol Process 24(14):2014–2021Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lees JM et al (2008) Reventador Volcano 2005: eruptive activity inferred from seismo-acoustic observation. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 176(1):179–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Li M, Liu YH (2009) Underground coal mine monitoring with wireless sensor networks. ACM Trans Sensor Netw 5(2)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Zhang YP, Zheng GX, Sheng JH (2001) Radio propagation at 900 MHz in underground coal mines. IEEE Trans Antennas Propag 49(5):757–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Porret AS et al (2000) A low-power low-voltage transceiver architecture suitable for wireless distributed sensors network. In: Proceedings of the 2000 IEEE international symposium on circuits and systems ISCAS 2000 GenevaGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Bernhard JT et al (2003) An interdisciplinary effort to develop a wireless embedded sensor system to monitor and assess corrosion in the tendons of prestressed concrete girders. In: Wireless Communication Technology, 2003. IEEE Topical Conference on. 2003Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Jin X, Ali M (2010) Embedded Antennas in dry and saturated concrete for application in wireless sensors. In: Progress in electromagnetics research, vol 102. PIER, ppp 197–211Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Flynn BO et al (2006) The Tyndall Mote, enabling wireless research and practical sensor application development. In: Advances in pervasive computing, vol 207Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Barton J et al (2005) A miniaturised modular platform for wireless sensor networks. In: European conference on circuit theory and design. Cork, IrelandGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Colombo S et al (2005) Predicting the ultimate bending capacity of concrete beams from the “relaxation ratio” analysis of AE signals. Construct Build Mater 19(10):746–754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Kurz JH, Grosse CU, Reinhardt HW (2005) Strategies for reliable automatic onset time picking of acoustic emissions and of ultrasound signals in concrete. Ultrasonics 43(7):538–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
  40. 40.
    Gore Membrane Vents (2008) www.gore.com/MungoBlobs/734/66/membrane_vents_M12x1.pdf. Accessed March 2008
  41. 41.
    Jensen OM, Hansen PF (1996) Autogenous deformation and change of the relative humidity in silica fume-modified cement paste. ACI Mater J 93(6):539–543Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Neville AM (1995) Properties of concrete, 4th edn. In: A Pitman international text. Pitman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Park G, Sohn H, Farrar CR, Inman DJ (2003) Overview of piezoelectric impedance-based health monitoring and path forward. Shock Vib Dig v35:451–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Mier JGMv (1997) Fracture processes of concrete: assessment of material parameters for fracture models. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Hsu TTC et al (1963) Microcracking of plain concrete and the shape of the stress-strain curve. J Am Concrete Inst 60(2):209–224Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Vile G The strength of concrete under short term static biaxial stress. In: Proceedings of an international conference on the structure of concrete, September 1965, LondonGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Soh CK, Bhalla S (2005) Calibration of piezo-impedance transducers for strength prediction and damage assessment of concrete. Smart Mater Struct 14(4):671–684CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Quinn
    • 1
  • Philip Angove
    • 2
  • John Buckley
    • 2
  • John Barrett
    • 3
  • Ger Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Mechanical and Process EngineeringCork Institute of TechnologyCorkIreland
  2. 2.Tyndall National InstituteUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  3. 3.NIMBUS Centre for Embedded Systems ResearchCork Institute of TechnologyCorkIreland

Personalised recommendations