Piezoresistive properties of cement-based sensors: Review and perspective

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Journal Article
Construction and Building Materials, 2019, 203 pp. 146 - 163
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Cement-based sensors are increasingly used in smart concrete to self-sense and monitor the damages and cracks through the measurements of concrete electrical resistivity. The fundamental concepts, key components, manufacturing process, piezoresistivity measurements, and primary applications of cement-based sensors are reviewed in this paper. Various materials, mechanical and environmental factors affecting concrete piezoresistive properties are explicated. Some contradictory results from different studies are reported and discussed. Future perspectives of piezoresistive cement-based sensors are also delineated. The review reveals that there is an optimal conductor content, below which the sensor would perform more like plain concrete with high resistivity and low sensitivity, while excessively higher than which, the dispersion of the conductive phase could become difficult, thus increasing resistivity. The manufacturing process, such as the dispersion method of conductors and curing condition, plays a significant role in conductor distribution, matrix density and pore structure of the sensors, which, together with rheology of the sensor composite, consequently alters the piezoresistive properties of the sensors. In addition to responding to mechanical loading, cement-based piezoresistive sensor also has a great potential for monitoring behaviour of concrete under freeze-thaw cycling. It is expected that this review will provide not only an orientation for new researchers to explore and engage in related studies but also an insight for experienced researchers to perform transformational examinations into cement-based piezoresistive sensors.
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