DOI

Currently, research on structural health monitoring systems is focused on direct integration of the system into a component or structure. The latter results in a so-called smart structure. One example of a smart structure is a component with integrated strain sensing for continuous load monitoring. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, now also enables such integration of functions inside components. As a proof-of-concept, the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technique was used to integrate a strain sensing element inside polymer (ABS) tensile test samples. The strain sensing element consisted of a closed capillary filled with a fluid and connected to an externally mounted pressure sensor. The volumetric deformation of the integrated capillary resulted in pressure changes in the fluid. The obtained pressure measurements during tensile testing are reported in this paper and compared to state-of-the-art extensometer measurements. The sensitivity of the 3D printed pressure-based strain sensor is primarily a function of the compressibility of the capillary fluid. Air- and watertightness are of critical importance for the proper functioning of the 3D printed pressure-based strain sensor. Therefore, the best after-treatment procedure was selected on basis of a comparative analysis. The obtained pressure measurements are linear with respect to the extensometer readings, and the uncertainty on the strain measurement of a capillary filled with water (incompressible fluid) is ±3.1 µstrain, which is approximately three times less sensitive than conventional strain gauges (±1 µstrain), but 32 times more sensitive than the same sensor based on air (compressible fluid) (±101 µstrain).
Original languageEnglish
Article number328
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalSensors
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2017

    Research areas

  • STRAIN, Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, smart structures, Tensile, embedded capillary

ID: 30064098