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Article 2: Sensory fiber based textile reinforced concrete for smart structures

This article investigates the use of textile reinforced concrete as a structural element that provides
the sensing feature as well. In fact, This fiber textile is serving at the same time as reinforcement
and sensor. This article explores experimentally the mechanical and electrical response of TRC
beams. Two characteristics of monitoring are further studied: the strain sensing that provides useful
information regarding the mechanical behavior of the beams in response to loads and the detection
of wetting to help monitor leakage and interaction with the environment.

Illustration

1: Warp knit of the fibers


The sensory textiles: they are made mainly from carbon and glass fibers. These structural fibers
realize the sensing function using a physical phenomenon called piezoresistivity. For this study, a
mesh size of 7-8 mm is used for the grid structure. The process is called warp knitting of fibers as
demonstrated by figure 1. Surprisingly, the glass and carbon fibers are high performance materials
that exhibit strong mechanical properties. For instance, the carbon fibers have a specific mass of
m=1800 kg/m, an elastic modulus E=240 GPa and a tensile strength of =4000 MPa. Also, the
electrical resistance per unit length of such fibers can reach 13 /m.
Furthermore, electrical connectors to the Data Acquisition system are used and extend at least
50mm beyond the beam ends as illustrated by figure 2. Moreover, the beam specimens used have
the folowing dimensions: e=30-35 mm, b=70mm, l=280mm. It should be noted that the textile is the
sole reinforcement used in the beams. The textile are embedded in the beam in three layers : an
upper layer 5mm below the beam end, a bottom layer 5mm from the beam end and a central layer at
the center of the beam as demonstrated by figure 2. In addition, the textile layer is made of two
carbon tows and six glass tows that extend longitudinally. In the transverse direction, only glass
fibers are used.

Illustration 2: TRC beams : a) Cross section and Electrical Connectors b)


Textile layout c) casted concrete in molds
The monitoring capability of the TRC beam is based on the electrical resistance change in response
to straining. In general, the straining cause the tows elongation and reduction in its cross section.
Thus, the integrative electrical resistance is changed. This means that the following parameter is
evaluated along beam: Rx= r(x) dx. Experimentally, a Wheatstone bridge configuration is used to
measure the voltage drop across the bridge. Eventually, this voltage change can be related to the
tows resistance change knowing the other parameters of the Wheatstone. Thus, the calculation of
the tows resistance is derived using Kirchhoff's laws that yield the following equations :

Besides, an experiment is used to validate the previous results. An MTS Machine is used to apply
mechanical loads and subsequent mechanical and electrical results are discussed. The beams used
are in a four point configuration as demonstrated by fig
To
characteri
ze the
structural
response
of the
beam,
both the
strain and
load deflection curves are derived fig X
The previous curves demonstrate that the beam undergoes mainly four phases. The post-cracking
phase reveals that hairline cracks are well distributed which reflect a good anchorage and minimal
slip with concrete. Owing to the fibers, the final stage reveal that the cracks are bridged and
integrity is maintained. Hence, brittle failure is prevented and the concrete keeps its functional
integrity.