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, Geotechnical/Materials Engineering



Conference Title

Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2016

Conference Date

March 20-24, 2016


Las Vegas, NV


Cement-based smart sensors appear particularly suitable for monitoring applications, due to their self-sensing abilities, their ease of use, and their numerous possible field applications. The addition of conductive carbon nanofillers into a cementitious matrix provides the material with piezoresistive characteristics and enhanced sensitivity to mechanical alterations. The strain-sensing ability is achieved by correlating the variation of external loads or deformations with the variation of specific electrical parameters, such as the electrical resistance. Among conductive nanofillers, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have shown promise for the fabrication of self-monitoring composites. However, some issues related to the filler dispersion and the mix design of cementitious nanoadded materials need to be further investigated. For instance, a small difference in the added quantity of a specific nanofiller in a cement-matrix composite can substantially change the quality of the dispersion and the strain sensitivity of the resulting material. The present research focuses on the strain sensitivity of concrete, mortar and cement paste sensors fabricated with different amounts of carbon nanotube inclusions. The aim of the work is to investigate the quality of dispersion of the CNTs in the aqueous solutions, the physical properties of the fresh mixtures, the electromechanical properties of the hardened materials, and the sensing properties of the obtained transducers. Results show that cement-based sensors with CNT inclusions, if properly implemented, can be favorably applied to structural health monitoring.


This proceeding is published as Antonella D'Alessandro, Filippo Ubertini, Simon Laflamme, Marco Rallini, Annibale L. Materazzi, Josè M. Kenny, "Strain sensitivity of carbon nanotube cement-based composites for structural health monitoring", Proc. SPIE 9803, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2016, 980319 (20 April 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2218905. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)



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