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


Research Focus Area

Structural Engineering



Conference Title

Nondestructive Characterization and Monitoring of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, Civil Infrastructure, and Transportation XII

Conference Date

March 4-8, 2018


Denver, CO


Renewable energy production has become a key research driver during the last decade. Wind energy represents a ready technology for large-scale implementation in locations all around the world. While important research is conducted to optimize wind energy production efficiency, a critical issue consists of monitoring the structural integrity and functionality of these large structures during their operational life cycle. This paper investigates the durability of a soft elastomeric capacitor strain sensing membrane, designed for structural health monitoring of wind turbines, when exposed to aggressive environmental conditions. The sensor is a capacitor made of three thin layers of an SEBS polymer in a sandwich configuration. The inner layer is doped with titania and acts as the dielectric, while the external layers are filled with carbon black and work as the conductive plates. Here, a variety of samples, not limited to the sensor configuration but also including its dielectric layer, were fabricated and tested within an accelerated weathering chamber (QUV) by simulating thermal, humidity, and UV radiation cycles. A variety of other tests were performed in order to characterize their mechanical, thermal, and electrical performance in addition to their solar reflectance. These tests were carried out before and after the QUV exposures of 1, 7, 15, and 30 days. The tests showed that titania inclusions improved the sensor durability against weathering. These findings contribute to better understanding the field behavior of these skin sensors, while future developments will concern the analysis of the sensing properties of the skin after aging.


This proceeding is published as

Austin Downey, Anna Laura Pisello, Elena Fortunati, Claudia Fabiani, Francesca Luzi, Luigi Torre, Filippo Ubertini, Simon Laflamme, "Durability assessment of soft elastomeric capacitor skin for SHM of wind turbine blades," Proc. SPIE 10599, Nondestructive Characterization and Monitoring of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, Civil Infrastructure, and Transportation XII, 105991J (27 March 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2296518. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)



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