Campus Units

Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE)

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Proceedings of SPIE





First Page


Last Page


Research Focus Area

Structural Engineering



Conference Title

Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems

Conference Date

March 21-24, 2016


Las Vegas, NV


A newly-developed soft elastomeric capacitor (SEC) strain sensor has shown promise in fatigue crack monitoring. The SECs exhibit high levels of ductility and hence do not break under excessive strain when the substrate cracks due to slippage or de-bonding between the sensor and epoxy. The actual strain experienced by a SEC depends on the amount of slippage, which is difficult to simulate numerically, making it challenging to accurately predict the response of a SEC near a crack. In this paper, a two-step approach is proposed to simulate the capacitance response of a SEC. First, a finite element (FE) model of a steel compact tension specimen was analyzed under cyclic loading while the cracking process was simulated based on an element removal technique. Second, a rectangular boundary was defined near the crack region. The SEC outside the boundary was assumed to have perfect bond with the specimen, while that inside the boundary was assumed to deform freely due to slippage. A second FE model was then established to simulate the response of the SEC within the boundary subject to displacements at the boundary from the first FE model. The total simulated capacitance was computed from the model results by combining the computed capacitance inside and outside the boundary. The performance of the simulation incorporating slippage was evaluated by comparing the model results with the experimental data from the test performed on a compact tension specimen. The FE model considering slippage showed results that matched the experimental findings more closely than the FE model that did not consider slippage.


Xiangxiong Kong, Jian Li, Caroline Bennett, William Collins, Simon Laflamme, "Model calibration for a soft elastomeric capacitor sensor considering slippage under fatigue cracks", Proc. SPIE 9803, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2016, 98032P (20 April 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2219508. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)



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