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Recent Advances on SHM of Reinforced Concrete and Masonry Structures Enabled by Self-Sensing Structural Materials
Filippo Ubertini 1 , Antonella D'Alessandro 1 , Austin Downey 2 , Enrique García-Macías 3 , Simon Laflamme 2 , Rafael Castro-Triguero 4
1  Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Perugia, Italy
2  Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA
3  Department of Continuum Mechanics and Structural Analysis, School of Engineering, University of Seville, Spain
4  Department of Mechanics, University of Cordoba, Campus de Rabanales, Cordoba, Spain

MDPI AG, Volume 2; 10.3390/ecsa-4-04889

Structural Health Monitoring is aimed at transforming civil structures into self-diagnosing systems able to automatically reveal the occurrence of a fault or a damage after a critical event such as an earthquake. While data science is presently experiencing a tremendous development, leading to the availability of powerful tools and algorithms that extract relevant information by effectively fusing data provided by different types of sensors, one of the main bottlenecks still limiting the development of SHM in the filed of civil engineering is the general lack of reliable sensing technologies that are effectively applicable to the large scale. A very promising solution to such a large scale challenge would be using the same construction materials for strain sensing and direct damage detection. In this view, the authors have recently proposed smart concretes and smart bricks that are piezoresistive concretes and clay bricks obtained by doping traditional construction materials with conductive nano- or micro inclusions. These novel multifunctional materials have the ability to provide measurable electrical output under application of a mechanical load and to provide information useful for damage detection, localization and quantification. The paper introduces both technologies, discusses their potentials and illustrates their application to paradigmatic structural elements arranged in the laboratory. The presented results contribute to showing the revolutionary impact that smart concretes and smart bricks may have in the near future on SHM of concrete and masonry structures.

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