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Analysis of Piezoelectric Diaphragms in Impedance-Based Damage Detection in Large Structures

The use of low-cost transducers such as piezoelectric diaphragms in structural health monitoring (SHM) applications based on the electromechanical impedance (EMI) method has grown in recent years. Although many studies report the feasibility of such transducers for impedance-based damage detection, the experiments are typically performed on small structures. Therefore, the objective of this work is to perform an experimental analysis of the feasibility of the piezoelectric diaphragms for the detection of damage in large structures. Several tests were carried out on a large aluminum plate in which a diaphragm was attached. The electrical impedance signatures of the transducer were collected and a basic damage index was calculated in order to verify the feasibility of quantifying the size of the damage at different distances from the transducer. The experimental results indicate that the piezoelectric diaphragms have a good sensitivity to provide a damage size classification in large structures. In addition, the sensitivity to damage detection and classification decrease as the distance between the transducer and the damage increases. Therefore, the results reported in this study indicate that low-cost piezoelectric diaphragms are feasible for impedance-based SHM applications in large structures.

Keywords: Piezoelectric diaphragms; low-cost; SHM; impedance; damage; large structures